By CGTN's Grace Shao
China's State Council held a press conference in Beijing on Thursday. Chief Accountant of the State‑owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), Shen Ying, announced positive news about the performance of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the first quarter of 2017. Shen voiced his optimism about the future of Chinese SOEs, adding that the commission was working closely with firms to help them improve their efficiency.
Shen said central SOEs witnessed accumulated revenue of six trillion yuan (870 billion US dollars), meaning nearly 20 percent year-on-year growth. SOEs raked in an accumulated profit of 312 billion yuan (45.3 billion US dollars), up by 23.2 percent year-on-year, and net profit reached 226.42 billion yuan (32.9 billion US dollars.)
The strong first quarter saw steady output in the petroleum, natural resources and transportation sectors, all of which contributed to a stable national economic performance. Telecommunications, manufacturing and energy saw strong profit gains as well, thanks in part to a lowering of operational costs and better allocation of resources.
Shen said "the first quarterly performance has laid a strong foundation for the rest of the year to reach its annual goal. SOEs focused on capturing optimal market opportunities, increased overall productivity, prioritized structural reform, and increased market research."
Shen also mentioned that the commission has been promoting upstream and downstream cooperation among industry partners. She added that the regulatory body has also been assisting companies in improving their global competitiveness, domestic brand identity and trade efficiency.
Key indicators were stabilized, leading to an overall positive performance for central SOEs. Out of 102 SOEs, 91 of them saw an increase in revenue and 54 of the companies actually witnessed a growth rate higher than 10 percent.
Furthermore, the tax contribution by central SOEs increased in the first quarter of 2017 as well. The SOEs altogether paid almost 530 billion yuan (76.9 billion US dollars) in taxes, representing year-on-year growth of 7.5 percent.
Looking beyond the promising figures, Shen mentioned that the government hopes to address and mitigate the issue of "zombie" firms among SOEs, by promoting mergers between industry competitors, assisting in management and resource allocation and finally eliminating under-performers.