The SOE Reform in China’s New Normal: Problems and Suggestions
In the recent course of more than 30 years, the reform on state-owned enterprises (SOEs) went through four consecutive major stages and in each stage found its own core task, which included enhancing the autonomy of SOEs (1978–1984), separation of enterprise ownership and operation (1985–1992), establishing a modern system of enterprises through “zhuada fangxiao” (grasping the large, letting go the small) (1993–2002), and establishing a modern, healthy institution of property rights (2003–2013). Through a series of explorations, the SOE reform has made great achievements. On one hand, the size of the state-owned economy has kept growing with continuously improved productive efficiency and strengthened control of and impact on the important areas and key links of the lifeline of the national economy; on the other hand, SOEs have stepped through the course of transformation towards a mainstay of the modern market with improved core competitiveness, and a variety of corporate groups with considerable scale effects and international competitiveness have been formed while the number of Chinese enterprises that make to the Fortune Global 500 list is growing year by year. During the economic development, SOEs have played an important role in pushing for economic transition, defending against external blows and maintaining stable economic growth while assuming major tasks in China’s strategic planning such as increasing the Opening-up and leading industries to expand overseas. Now with the economic pattern of public ownership in dominance with various forms of ownership developing together generally laid out, the basic economic system of in the primary stage of socialism has entered a phase of perfecting itself, and the major tasks of the SOE reform in this new age are to remove the institutional and regulation barriers that have been built up on their own for long terms and to deepen and optimize the reform.