State-owned companies dominated the latest list of China's Top 500 Companies, but their steps toward globalization fall far behind foreign companies, experts said at a two-day summit held in Hefei, Anhui Province over the weekend.
Total revenues of the top 500 companies increased by 6.28 percent to 27.6 trillion yuan ($4.06 trillion) last year, the lowest growth rate since 2002. There are 329 State-owned companies, earning more than 80 percent of the total revenue, said a report released by the China Enterprise Confederation (CEC) and the China Enterprise Directors Association Saturday.
SinoPec led the list with a revenue of 1.39 trillion yuan ($204.33 billion) in 2009, followed by the State Grid, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and China Mobile.
After the financial crisis, the top 500 reported shrinking overseas revenue of 2.5 trillion yuan ($367.55 billion) in 2009, down 3.42 percent year-on-year.
They have outperformed both the world's and the US's top 500 companies in profits. The average profit margin of China's top 500 companies was 5.44 percent in 2009, higher than that of 4.16 percent and 4 percent for those globally and in the US.
"Chinesecompanies used to just follow multinationals, but some have become chal-lengers," said Li Jianming, vice chairman of CEC. "In the engineering, iron &steel, and electric sectors, Chinese companies' business scales have surpassed their foreign counterparts, while in the retail, auto, telecommunications and banking sectors, they're also closing the gap."
However, experts said compared with foreign companies, Chinese firms are slow going abroad. "CNPC's overseas revenues accounted for less than 3 percent of its total revenue, but Shell's overseas revenues surpassed 70 percent," said Wang Zhile, researcher within the Ministry of Commerce.
"Chinese firms made much progress in acquiring overseas assets during the crisis, but most of them lack the ability to run a global business, due to problems with resource deployment, industrial layouts and international management," said Wang Bo, managing director of Accenture Great China.