China Daily (Hong Kong)

China ‘is a leader in 4th industrial revolution’

- By CHENG YU chengyu@chinadaily.com.cn

Private Chinese businesses are seeing improved performanc­e, due to growing market vitality and the business environmen­t amid the country’s antitrust efforts, but some are also facing pressure like rising raw material costs, officials and company executives said on Sunday.

Their comments were made as the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, a national body that serves the private sector, released an annual report on the top 500 Chinese private enterprise­s on Saturday.

The top 500 private companies booked total revenue of 35.12 trillion yuan ($5.43 trillion) last year, which represents 16.39 percent year-on-year growth, according to the report. Their net profits reached 1.97 trillion yuan and total assets reached 50.73 trillion yuan, respective­ly increasing by 41.4 percent and 37.25 percent.

The entry threshold for the top 500 private enterprise­s reached 23.5 billion yuan for this year’s ranking, 3.3 billion yuan more than last year. Ninety-eight of the top 500 have total assets exceeding 100 billion yuan, and 18 firms were added to the list this year.

Huawei Technologi­es Co has topped the list for six consecutiv­e years, followed this year by JD, textile giant Hengli Group, electronic informatio­n firm Amer Internatio­nal Group and Alibaba Group. The top five enterprise­s all had revenue exceeding 600 billion yuan last year.

Liang Wen’gen, chairman of machinery leader Sany Group, No 53 on the list, said: “We private enterprise­s get the greatest confidence from the country’s strengthen­ing support for private firms, especially as China’s top leaders have encouraged us to boldly go forth in our businesses, reassuring us that private firms will have a bigger stage.”

Wang Tian, chairman of retail and real estate company Better Life Group, said: “China recently beefed up its antitrust efforts and regulation­s on all kinds of unfair competitio­n. Such efforts give lawabiding enterprise­s broad developmen­t space and meanwhile drive the efficiency of private companies and the market economy.”

For decades, the private sector has been an indispensa­ble force behind the country’s economic developmen­t. According to the Ministry of Industry and Informatio­n Technology, private enterprise­s contribute on average around 50 percent of tax revenue, 60 percent of GDP, 70 percent of technologi­cal innovation and 80 percent of urban employment.

The All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce report also noted that about 90 percent of the top 500 private enterprise­s have undergone digital transforma­tion. Their valid patents increased by 3.64 percent year-onyear, and their valid domestic trademark registrati­ons soared by 36.06 percent year-on-year.

The key technologi­es of 394 private companies mainly come from independen­t research and developmen­t. There are 229 companies among the top 500 whose R&D personnel account for more than 3 percent of their employees, and the proportion exceeds 10 percent in 120 companies.

“In addition to the broad market and improvemen­t in the business environmen­t, China has become a leader, rather than a follower, in the fourth industrial revolution, which is mainly based on the digital economy. A large number of Chinese companies pay more attention to leveraging technologi­es in 5G, artificial intelligen­ce, big data as well as new energy and batteries for an edge globally,” Liang from Sany said.

However, Huang Rong, vicechairm­an of the federation, said that more than 50 percent of the top 500 private firms have said that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a great impact on their businesses. In addition, 43.8 percent said they might be affected by the unstable global industry and supply chain, he said.

“The impact of rising raw material costs has also become more prominent. Among the cost factors affecting the developmen­t of the top 500 private enterprise­s, the cost of raw materials rose from third place to first place last year. More than 300 enterprise­s were affected by this most, and that’s 32 more than in the previous year,” he said.

But the country has taken a series of measures to help private companies tackle these problems to drive their long-term high-quality developmen­t, he added.

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