Chinese companies unable to reopen due to the coronavirus

Aside from workers who cannot get back to work and jammed-up logistics networks, a major obstacle for businesses reopening amid the COVID-19 breakout is the Chinese government. In order to get up and running, businesses must submit mounds of paperwork and applications to the government.

A screenshot of one such application from a company in Sichuan to resume operations went viral on social media, reports the Global Times. The form has nine seals (a.k.a. “chops”) from the company’s owner and various government departments. Some companies are required to submit up to 21 documents.

Small factories are having difficulty reopening, according to Sina (in Chinese). Old Cai (老蔡  lǎo cài), a small factory owner in Shenzhen, needs his company’s seal to stamp the application to reopen, but the seal is locked inside his office, which was ordered closed until Old Cai submitted the paperwork that needed the seal. New York Times Asia tech reporter Paul Mozur tweeted that the Times’ Shanghai bureau is facing exactly the same problem.  

—Caroline Stetson