China state giants far outstrip private firms: report

BEIJING, August 30, 2010 (AFP) - Two of China's major state-run companies, China Mobile and PetroChina, saw their net profits outstrip those of the nation's top 500 private firms put together in 2009, a report said Monday.

The figures highlight how state-run enterprises have been prioritised and favoured under communist rule, often to the detriment of the private sector, during 30 years of booming economic growth in China.

According to the China Business News, net profits at the two firms reached more than 218 billion yuan (32 billion dollars) last year, with China Mobile raking in over 115 billion yuan and PetroChina taking in 103.3 billion yuan.

In comparison, China's top 500 private companies, listed according to their revenue, accumulated 217.95 billion yuan in net profits in 2009, the report said.

China's most profitable private firm in 2009 was the mineral water and soft drinks manufacturer Wahaha, with profits amounting to 8.78 billion yuan, it added.

The nation's biggest private enterprise in terms of revenue was steel manufacturer Jiangsu Shagang, followed by household electronics retailer Suning and computer-maker Lenovo, it said.

To qualify as one of China's top 500 private companies in 2009, firms had to have revenues amounting to at least 3.66 billion yuan, up from 2.97 billion in 2008. More than 300 of these firms operated in the industrial sector, it added.

China should "nurture private multinational firms that have relatively strong international competitiveness as soon as possible," the report quoted Huang Mengfu, head of the federation of commerce and industry, as saying.

The report was based on a survey of more than 3,600 private Chinese companies with revenues in 2009 surpassing 300 million yuan.