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BEIJING -- China's individually-owned businesses and private enterprises topped 40.6 million around January end, according to the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC).
They are providing jobs for about 80 million people and report 2 trillion yuan ($321.03 billion) in capital.
Most businesses, or 90 percent, are working in the tertiary or service sector, and only 8 percent are in the second industry and 2 percent in the primary industry.
Half of the businesses are located in the eastern regions and only 30 percent are based in the central regions and 20 percent in the western areas.
Individually-owned businesses and private enterprises have been growing rapidly into a key source for China's economic growth, fiscal revenue and employment.
The country registered only 140,000 such private businesses in 1978 before the number hit a high of 31.6 million 1999. The SAIC started clearing the "dead" members in counting from 2000 on, leading to five-year declines in the total number.
It hit a bottom low of 23.5 million in 2004, but started to grow again rapidly.