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China looks to spur job prospects for record number of new graduates

BEIJING, May 13 (Reuters) - China will offer subsidies, tax breaks and easier loans to boost prospects for college graduates, the cabinet said on Friday, as a record number prepare to enter the workforce this year amid downside risks to economic growth stemming from COVID-19 curbs.

The subsidies are aimed at small firms, while graduates launching start-ups stand to get tax breaks, easier loan terms and even rent-free premises, the general office of the State Council, or cabinet, said in a notice.

"China ... encourages employers in COVID-hit regions to sign labour contracts with college graduates online," it said, promising support for smaller and medium-size enterprises that hire more college graduates.

China wants to promote healthy development of the online platform economy, it added, referring to a sector that is a big source of jobs, crucial at a time when a record 10.76 million are set to finish college this year.

"'Red lights' and 'green lights' will be set up in order to promote healthy development of the platform economy and drive more jobs," the notice said, referring to a system of incentives.

But the worst COVID-19 outbreaks since 2020 have added to the pressures students face, and put at risk the small firms that are a mainstay of the world's second largest economy.

China's "dynamic clearance" policy against the Omicron variant of coronavirus has led to full or partial lockdowns in dozens of cities, including a six-week halt citywide in the commercial centre of Shanghai.


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