Chinese private companies excel in Fortune rankings, highlighting vigorous private economy
Published: Aug 02, 2023 10:21 PM
Workers rush to make machines for domestic and foreign customers in an engineering machinery company in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province on June 14, 2023. The company's excavators, loaders, mining trucks and other road machinery products have been exported to Russia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa. Photo: cnsphoto

Workers rush to make machines for domestic and foreign customers in an engineering machinery company in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province on June 14, 2023. Photo: cnsphoto

Chinese private companies are gaining global spotlight with growing presence on the Fortune Global 500 list released on Wednesday. Two star private firms - battery producer Contemporary Amperex Technology Co (CATL) and food delivery platform Meituan - appeared on the list for the first time.

Their rapid growth is indicative of the development momentum of Chinese private companies thanks to vigorous government policy support, refuting foreign media outlets' irresponsible claim that China is tightening policies or even clamping down on the private sector, experts said.

In this year's Fortune Global 500 list, a total of 39 companies made their debuts or re-entered the list, including seven Chinese companies. One notable addition is CATL, which achieved sales revenue of $48.8 billion in 2022, securing its first-time entry to the list.

The number of internet companies on the list has increased to eight, with an equal representation of Chinese and American firms. The listed internet companies are Amazon, Alphabet, JD, Alibaba, Meta Platforms, Tencent, Meituan and Uber. 

Similar to CATL, the Chinese platform economy representative Meituan also made its debut on the list. Experts said that the inclusion of Meituan and CATL is not surprising, as both companies are representative of their booming and sustainable industries in China.

The two listed companies represent the two important directions of China's future development.

"CATL represents China's booming new-energy industry in the context of green development, while Meituan symbolizes the digital and intelligent industry, epitomizing the dynamic platform economy in the country. 

"When combined with artificial intelligence, the platform-based economy will offer ample opportunities for private companies," Wang Peng, an associate research fellow at the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"Their inclusion in the list injects strong impetus into the growth of China's private sector, and marks a milestone of their development," Wang said, adding the government has consistently supported their development.

Foreign media has been critical of China's private sector, saying it is facing more pressure from regulatory scrutiny and oversight, an allegation that experts said is groundless.

Wang said that some Western media organizations have been continuously disparaging China, and "the so-called claims of China suppressing the private economy are an example of this biased narrative."

Li Chang'an, a professor at the Academy of China Open Economy Studies of the University of International Business and Economics, told the Global Times on Wednesday that "claims of some foreign media outlets about China suppressing private firms are flawed…since the recent development of the private economy has mainly been influenced by the macroeconomic situation."

As a matter of fact, the Chinese government has implemented measures aimed at bolstering the private sector, demonstrating its commitment to creating a healthy and equitable market environment for all types of companies.

On Tuesday, eight Chinese ministries jointly released 28 measures to support the private economy. The measures include ensuring fair access for private firms to participate in significant national projects and technological initiatives, providing increased financial and land support, and enhancing legal protection for private companies.

It serves as a clear indication of the country's determination to ramp up its support for the private sector. Notably, these actions came closely after the issuance of a comprehensive guideline on July 19 by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council which also focused on boosting the growth of the private economy.

While China's economic recovery might not have been as rapid as some anticipated, the overall situation remains positive, with the role of China's economy in the world becoming increasingly significant. Throughout this process, the private economy has played a pivotal role, experts said.

Since 2012, the proportion of the private economy in China's GDP has increased from less than 50 percent to more than 60 percent. China's private enterprises grew from 10.86 million in 2012 to more than 47 million in 2022.

"Given this context, there is good reason to believe that Chinese private enterprises will have broad space for development in the future," Li said.