China's top leaders have pledged unwavering support for the private sector to boost the COVID-19-hit economy, as the fast-growing private sector has played a big role in creating new jobs, promoting technological innovations and stabilizing economic growth.
The Central Economic Work Conference, which was held in mid-December to set economic priorities for 2023, called for the equal treatment of private enterprises and stressed law-based protection for the property rights of private enterprises and the interests of entrepreneurs.
The conference expected an overall improvement in the economy and a strong boost to the market conference next year, and it encouraged more private capital to participate in the construction of key national projects.
The private economy has continued to see strong growth despite challenges posed by COVID-19. From January 2020 to August 2022, the number of Chinese private enterprises expanded from 35.2 million to 47.0 million. In 2021, they accounted for 92.1 percent of all enterprises.
In 2021, the private sector contributed 48.6 percent of foreign trade, 56.5 percent of fixed-asset investment, 59.6 percent of tax revenue, over 60 percent of GDP, over 70 percent of technological innovations and more than 80 percent of urban employment.
The foreign trade value of private enterprises was 19 trillion yuan ($2.7 trillion) in 2021, with an increase of 26.7 percent year on year. It surpassed the 14.03 trillion yuan by foreign-invested enterprises and 5.94 trillion yuan by state-owned enterprises.
China's 500 largest private enterprises
China's 500 biggest private enterprises have stronger performance, with the threshold for entry by operating revenue increasing from 20.2 billion yuan in 2019 to 26.4 billion yuan in 2021.
They have also injected strong growth momentum into foreign trade. Their export value doubled from 121.2 billion yuan in 2019 to 245.4 billion yuan in 2021.
In 2021, the total revenue of the top 500 hit 38.3 trillion yuan, with net profits at 1.73 trillion yuan. They contributed tax payments of 1.37 trillion yuan and provided 10.9 million jobs.
Over 60 percent of the top 500 companies concentrated on the secondary industry, with manufacturers accounting for 60.2 percent of the firms and 58.8 percent of the revenues.
Among the top 500, 393 firms are located in east China, with 107 firms from Zhejiang Province and 92 from Jiangsu Province. There are 60 firms on the list from central China, 40 from western China and seven from northeast China.
China's top 500 private enterprises have driven technological innovation, with total valid patents rising from 398,215 in 2019 to 633,922 in 2021. Last year, the number of total valid patents surged 53.6 percent from a year ago, while international valid patents soared 474.7 percent year on year.
Chinese tech giants Huawei, Alibaba and Tencent were the top three investors in most of the research and development in 2021, with investment hitting 142.7 billion yuan, 57.8 billion yuan and 51.9 billion yuan, respectively.
Data editor: Yao Nian;
Graphics designer: Mukesh Mohanan