Chinese Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan said Tuesday that state-owned enterprises (SOEs) administered by the central government should grow more competitive to play a larger role in the economy.
"Centrally administered SOEs are a main force in state-owned firms and a backbone in the national economy," Zeng said. "They should become bigger and stronger to contribute more to the economic and social development."
Stronger SOEs would enable the state-owned sector to consolidate its leading role in the economy and China should waste no time building its own internationally-competitive companies, he said.
Zeng recognized that centrally administered SOEs had made significant progress in their reforms in the last five years, with total assets rapidly expanding and profitability greatly improved.
China currently had 152 such SOEs, all under the supervision of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC).
Although the number of such SOEs dropped to about 160 last year from more than 190 in 2002 due to economic restructuring, their total sales jumped 146 percent and profits increased two-fold.
"SOEs have found a way to activate themselves in the socialist market economy," Zeng said.
He noted China should "promote the corporate and share-holding reforms in SOEs, deepen the reforms in monopoly sectors and encourage SOEs to expand overseas".
SASAC head Li Rongrong said China would actively boost the participation of the private sector and foreign investment in the share-holding reform of centrally administered SOEs.
Link to this article：Vice premier calls for bigger role of central SOEs
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