The privatization of China's economy is gathering speed

Private companies have been taking over listed entities by stealth to access badly needed capital Now new M&A proposals aim to legalize and boost the process.

According to the official line in China, the 1160 companies listed in Shenzhen and Shanghai are the country's finest. In fact, most of the companies are badly managed and show poor returns, as Caijing Magazine documented in its most recent issue. On an Economic Value Added Basis, listed companies as a group destroyed value of about Rmb16.6 billion in 2001 $1.9 billion, or around Rmb14.4 million per company, the magazine reports.

They succeeded in listing in the booming 1980s and 1990s thanks to strong provincial and city support, based on good connections more often than not.

In contrast, it's no secret that the country's private sector has been booming, accounting for between one-third and...

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