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September 30, 2020

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China’s top 500 companies see strong growth despite challenges

A LEADING Chinese business organization has unveiled its 2020 list of the top 500 Chinese companies, reflecting resilience in the country’s large firms that are underpinning the growth of the world’s second-largest economy.

At a time when the country is faced with mounting uncertainties abroad, China’s big companies have stood up against the challenges and responded actively with structural upgrades, said Wang Zhongyu, head of the China Enterprise Confederation and China Enterprise Directors Association, which compiled the list.

A closer look at the list revealed changes that are taking place to help the economy weather external shocks and achieve long-term, sustainable growth.

The new list, issued for the 19th consecutive year, showed that the country’s large firms have seen growing revenues.

Combined revenues of the top 500 firms hit 86.02 trillion yuan (US$2.65 trillion) in 2019, up 8.75 percent year on year.

The China Petrochemical Corporation topped the list, with revenues of 2.81 trillion yuan. It was followed by the State Grid Corporation of China and the China National Petroleum Corporation, which raked in revenues of 2.65 trillion yuan and 2.62 trillion yuan.

The number of firms with revenue above 100 billion yuan rose to 217 from 194 last year.

When the first list was issued in 2002, only 10 firms were the exclusive 100-billion-yuan club.

“What’s behind the changing data is the growth of Chinese companies in line with the economic boom of the country over the years,” said Hao Peng, chief of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission. “It showed the critical role that the firms have played in boosting the country’s national strength and global competitiveness.”

As the country rolls out incentives to support entrepreneurship and innovation, companies have spent more on research and development as well as patent applications.

Among the 500 firms, 431 reported R&D worth 1.08 trillion yuan. The ratio of R&D expenditure to operating revenue rose to a record 1.61 percent.

Of the 396 listed firms that reported patent data, the number of patent applications surged 11.85 percent from a year ago to 1.24 million, with invention patent applications rising for the 10th year in a row.

Chinese companies also played a bigger part in setting international standards, with 332 listed companies participating in the formulation of 7,571 items of global standards, increasing for the third consecutive year.

Despite rising global protectionism, China has been unwavering in its opening-up efforts, producing various multinationals bringing foreign countries high-quality products as well as employment opportunities.

The transnational index of the country’s top 100 multinationals, an index measuring the global operation of firms based on their overseas assets, revenues and employees, rose for a sixth consecutive year to 16.1 percent, up 0.14 percentage points from a year ago.

China now has more Fortune Global 500 companies than the United States for the first time.


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