Asia’s International Trading and Finance Centres
Edited by François Gipouloux
Chapter 5: China’s Tax System on Foreign Enterprises and its Impact on Multinational Firms’ Localization Strategies
Hu Ying INTRODUCTION Over the last 30 years, characterized by opening-up and reform, the fiscal privileges granted to foreign enterprises, especially the privileges on enterprise income tax, have remained a major tool to attract the foreign investments that are believed to play an essential role in China’s economic growth. Big Chinese cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Tianjin adopted one after another the policy of attracting foreign direct investments as one of the most important policies for regional economic development. Tax privileges have created and worsened the competition between the different Chinese regions; objectively speaking, that has caused a tax discrepancy among cities and worsened the unfair competition between them. Apart from those special zones authorized by the central government, local governments have created their own with tax privileges and have become rivals. This chapter attempts to give some solutions to this problem through a comparison of the tax privileges offered by certain Chinese cities and an analysis of the competition between regions. These fiscal privileges evolved over time: from volume incentives to quality incentives, from regional privileges to sectoral privileges, with the development of tax privileges in the central and western parts of China. Such tax policies have borne fruit: foreign investments attraction, economic growth traction and pilot experience used in opening-up expansion. However, these policies have also manifested their limits over time. Examples are: inequitable treatments between foreign and Chinese companies, irrational distribution of foreign capital in various sectors, unbalanced privileges structure, inappropriate management of fiscal privileges,...
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