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Meeting the Challenge of Chinese Enterprise Reform

Price: $ 22

World Bank Discussion Paper No. 283.

Reform of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) has been proceeding since the Chinese government announced sweeping reforms in November 1993, which included the stated goal of creating a "socialist market economy" by the year 2000. This paper argues that despite China's impressive growth, inefficiencies still burden many of the SOEs that are at the core of the country's industrial sector. Competition from non-state sector firms has eroded the market share of SOEs, but this is not the only problem they face. For China to capitalize on its past successes, it must restructure the overall SOE sector and intensify enterprise reform.

This paper analyzes the problems SOEs face on three levels:
- Poor corporate internal incentive and governance systems
- Distortions in the policy and regulatory environment
- Lack of well-developed markets for labor, capital, and technology.

This perspective allows an assessment of experiments in Chinese enterprise reform, including past and planned efforts. The paper suggests that the objectives for future reforms hold the promise for solving many of the main problems. The challenge before the Chinese authorities is to design a program that implements these objectives.

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