China says more state firms might be privatized

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 19, 2013 at 12:44 am •  Published: December 19, 2013

BEIJING (AP) — More Chinese state-owned companies might be spun off as private entities to help improve economic growth but Beijing will keep control of major industries, a Cabinet official said Thursday.

Regulators are working on plans to overhaul ownership following last month's Communist Party pledge to increase competition in state-dominated industries, said Huang Shuhe, deputy chairman of the panel that controls China's biggest government companies.

Economists say Beijing must curb the dominance of state companies that control swathes of the economy, from banking to oil to steel production, or risk seeing China's growth rate plunge. The development blueprint issued last month pledges to open more industries to competition, though it said state ownership will remain the core of the economy.

Huang gave no details of which companies or industries might be affected. The 117 companies controlled by the Cabinet range from areas regarded by many countries as strategic, such as oil or telecommunications, to a travel agency and a food processor. They include oil giant PetroChina Ltd., phone carrier China Mobile Ltd. and four of the world's biggest banks.

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