A bullet train runs along the Harbin-Dalian High-Speed railway. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Northeast China's Heilongjiang province has taken a series of targeted measures in recent years to improve its business environment, and such steps have yielded remarkable results, provincial officials said on Tuesday.

"In 2022, 565,000 new enterprises were founded in Heilongjiang. The actual utilization of funds from regions outside the province was 297.5 billion yuan ($42.7 billion), up 47.9 percent year-on-year," Wang Yixin, a deputy to the National People's Congress and vice-governor of Heilongjiang, said at a news conference at the ongoing annual session of the NPC in Beijing.

"We were glad to receive praise from investors who were surprised by the great changes in the business environment in Heilongjiang."

The province is accelerating the construction of infrastructure for digital governance. Government services will become more convenient and timely for enterprises and narrow the gap with developed regions. The province is using methods like aggregation and sharing of government data, optimization of procedures, and introduction of openness and transparency in working processes, he said.

In recent years, the province also launched a series of laws and regulations to build a law-based business environment and strengthen the institutional foundation for improving it.

Furthermore, Heilongjiang has implemented a four-list system of inclusive and prudent supervision and law enforcement to create a more lenient development environment for enterprises.

Any enterprises found guilty of poor conduct or illegal practices will receive warnings and be guided to timely self-correction, which could then lead to exemptions or mitigation of punishment. This is expected to proactively eliminate and mitigate social harm and other undesirable consequences of errant corporate behavior.

"Using excellent business ideas and experience of developed regions, we are taking the initiative to help enterprises in difficulties," said Wang. "Work teams and officials are appointed to solve the problems of enterprises."

At the beginning of each year, the provincial government will hold a meeting to define the objectives of efforts to create a sound business environment for the whole year. It will also set up a multidimensional assessment and evaluation system.

"We will maintain 'zero tolerance' for any people and behaviors that damage the business environment," he said. "Various departments like market regulation, discipline inspection and supervision, politics and law will discharge their respective responsibilities and join forces to ensure that those who damage the business environment will pay a very heavy price."

Zhang Zhixiang, an NPC deputy and chairman of Jianlong Group, one of China's largest private steel enterprises, said: "For an enterprise, a good business environment is like what sunshine, water and air are to human beings. As an entrepreneur who has worked in Heilongjiang for 20 years, I feel that the business environment in the province has been continuously improving in recent years.

"While executing a project in Yichun, we received great support from the local government. They listed it as the city's No 1 project and actively coordinated related departments to give guidance in advance, providing us lots of reasonable suggestions on procedures.

"Moreover, they provided door-to-door service during the process, which helped save lots of time."