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Private enterprises expanding quickly
By Jiang Zhuqing (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-02-04 02:13

For every 400 people in China, there is one "boss" who owns a private company and whose income is 200,000 yuan (US$24,000) annually.

By mid-2004, there were 3.44 million private companies that hired more than 47.14 million employees, says a newly hammered-out survey of more than 3,000 private companies.

The latest tally of private companies passed 3.8 million by the end of 2004, said Bao Yujun, chairman of the Research Association on the Private Economy, at a press briefing yesterday.

Production value realized by the private economy topped 2 trillion yuan (US$241 billion) in 2003, rising from 42.2 billion yuan (US$5.1 billion) in 1989, said the survey, which was jointly organized by Bao's association, the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce and the United Front Work Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Meanwhile, the development of the private economy is diversified greatly in different regions, the survey says.

More than 63 per cent of the private companies are clustered in eight provinces and cities, including Jiangsu, Guangdong, Zhejiang, Shanghai, Shandong and Beijing.

During the past two years, the private economy has been allowed to enter more fields, said Bao.

Meanwhile, the thresholds of the market in many other sectors should be further lowered, says Lin Yueqin, a researcher with the Economic Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The inertia of many governmental departments still impedes the smooth development of the sector, however.

Among the issues that worry entrepreneurs are the concerns of current reforms in the taxation system (87.4 per cent), the implementation of the Constitution on the protection of private assets (83.1 per cent), the shift of governmental functions (83.1 per cent) as well the establishment of a social credit system (80.7 per cent).

Lin says that the whole of society, especially government departments as well as financial sectors, should give more support to the private economy, which is playing a more and more important role in the national economy.

Experts predict the growth rate of the gross of the private economy will still surpass 10 per cent annually during the next five to 10 years, accounting for 60 per cent of the increase of the national economy. It would also attract more than 10 million new employers to this sector.

The survey also indicated that 33.9 per cent of the owners of private companies are Party members, many of them had worked in State-owned or collective enterprises as managers before setting up their own businesses.

Diligence and pressure

The survey found that most of the owners of the private companies are "workaholic" to deal with the great pressure of their businesses.

Entrepreneurs have to spend 11.4 hours a day in their work, and the working day of some entrepreneurs reached 18 hours, the survey indicated.

"My largest aspiration is to get half a day off each month in 2005," said Zhang Jindong, president of Jiangsu-based Suning Appliance Group, on a recent TV talk show.

The survey is the sixth of its kind since 1993, said Huang Mengfu, who is the chairman of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce.

Huang added that he hopes the results could be used by the governments in drafting relevant policies and plans for the private economy.

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