China's State-owned enterprises are expected to post higher revenues and build more pioneers in modern industrial chains this year as the country has completed all the major tasks of its three-year action plan for the reform of SOEs (2020-22), said market observers and business executives on Thursday.
The plan is designed to transform SOEs into more competitive, modern enterprises and lead to all-out efforts by localities and numerous breakthroughs.
After three years of reform, the SOEs have become leaner and healthier, their system to support technological innovation has been improved, and supervision over State assets has become more professional, systematic and law-based, according to a statement released by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council after participating in a high-level government work meeting earlier this week.
The meeting pledged to plan and push for further SOE reforms to boost their core competitiveness and functionality.
Remarkable progress has been made in forming a more mature modern corporate system with SASAC focusing on capital management, said Peng Huagang, secretary-general of the commission.
Centrally administered SOEs at the group level — as well as their 12,600 key subsidiaries — have compiled a list of substantive matters for review, established boards of directors with external directors being the majority in most cases, and formulated an authorization system for the board, SASAC said.
Marked success was also achieved in the layout optimization and structural adjustment of the State-owned economy, said Huang Qunhui, director of the Institute of Economics with the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
"Additional verification of core duties and businesses of central SOEs was launched over the past three years, with China Oil & Gas Pipeline Network Corp and another nine newly formed central SOEs being pilots," Huang said, adding that strategic restructuring and professional integration were promoted in an all-round, in-depth and wide-ranging manner.
Zheng Xuexuan, board chairman of China State Construction Engineering Corp, a Beijing-based investment and construction group, said as new technologies used in various projects are soaring, the formation and stimulation of innovation teams, and the introduction and implementation of technologies all need to create new mechanisms through effective reform to unleash SOEs' operational and commercial vitality.
"It is also vital to rely on reforms to build pioneers in modern industrial chains with more self-developed technologies," Zheng said.
In terms of cultivating modern industrial chain pioneers, SASAC said that nearly 1 trillion yuan ($148.9 billion) has been invested by 16 central SOEs — including State Power Investment Corp, China Electronics Technology Group Corp and China Railway Rolling Stock Corp — to strengthen and supplement industrial chains in recent years. Over 90 percent of their goals for 2022 were fulfilled.
Li Jin, chief researcher at the China Enterprise Research Institute in Beijing, said completion of the three-year action plan shows that the corporate-governance reform of SOEs has been concluded and they are essentially now free to focus on their core business activities.
For instance, more than 20 centrally administered and local SOEs, including Aviation Industry Corp of China Ltd, State Grid Corp of China and Power Construction Corp of China, have transferred ownership of their affiliated hospitals and clinics to China General Technology (Group) Holding Co Ltd (Genertec) since 2018.
By taking over hospitals from these SOEs, Beijing-based Genertec will manage 343 hospitals and 48,000 hospital beds with more than 50,000 doctors and nurses across China by the end of March, said Yu Xubo, Genertec's board chairman.
China's SOEs posted 82.6 trillion yuan in operating revenue in 2022, up 8.3 percent year-on-year, according to the latest data released by the Ministry of Finance.
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