After decades of declining profitability, China's industrial state-owned enterprises appear obsolete. This study relies on extensive data and quantitative analysis to examine the reasons for the decline in profitability, to ascertain their current profitability patterns across various dimensions, and to account for any profitability gap with enterprises in other ownership forms. Recent reform measures are also evaluated. A differentiated picture emerges which seeks to make past developments comprehensible and illuminate the prospects of the reform of industrial state-owned enterprises in China.
Carsten A Holz is Associate Professor in the Social Science Division of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He has published widely on financial issues in China, including central and commercial banking, rural finance, and enterprise profitability, as well as on the reliability of Chinese statistics. In 2002, he was awarded the Gordon White Prize for the most original article or research report published in The China Quarterly in 2001.