BEIJING – China’s state-owned enterprises are undergoing reforms towards a mixed ownership system, as the government believes the infusion of private capital will improve competitiveness in the sector, the state news agency Xinhua reported on Thursday.
In this regard, Telecom operator Unicom unveiled plans of selling more shares to investors by private placement, after the start of its mixed-ownership adjustment in August.
Unicom is to sell a big part of its shares to Alibaba and Tencent, already shareholders of the SOE, in a deal worth $10 billion, although the China Unicom group is expected to keep holding a controlling stake.
Li Jin, deputy head of the China Enterprise Reform and Development Society, said more SOEs are to follow the example of Unicom, especially in the sectors where they have a monopoly.
Although the first few transfers to this model were carried out by the central government, such as the China Eastern airline and China Southern Power Grid, local governments have also unveiled plans to accelerate the reform of their SOEs.
Shenzhen, in the southeastern Guangdong province, has announced that it is scheduled to start diversifying its public businesses in the competitive sectors from next year, aiming to complete the process by 2019.
At the end of September 2017, the Ministry of Finance reported a 24.9 percent increase year on year in SOEs’ profits, higher than the 21.7 percent registered after August.
Since the beginning of the shift, more than 40 SOEs run by local authorities have suspended trading in the stock market to allow asset reorganization on the Chinese A-share market, financial information provider Wind said.
Companies are classified under 3 categories – A, B and H – in the Chinese stock market depending on their size and reach, with companies in the A-share market only allowed to trade in yuan with licensed institutional investors.