According to an article that Xinhua published, in 2002, only 11 Chinese companies made the Fortune Global 500 list, but, in 2017, 115 Chinese companies made the list compared to 132 U.S. companies. Most of the Chinese companies are from the bank, insurance, telecommunication, and electric grid industries while 60 percent of the companies were SOEs (state owned enterprises) and accounted for over 80 percent of the net capital and total income. However the article called these SOEs “big but not strong.” They lacked the ability to be competitive, especially in value creation ability. The article stated that the Chinese companies lagged behind in Internet, information technology, pharmaceutical, automotive, military, semiconductor, and chip industries when compared to the Western companies. Among those 109 Chinese companies on the Global Fortune 500 list, the Return of Asset rate was only 1.65 percent compared to 4.79 percent for the U.S. companies. Chinese SOEs are behind in the high end core technology and the spare parts industry and there are no companies that are even comparable with the Western companies in the pharmaceutical and semi-conductor industries. The article reported that the Chinese SOEs need to make breakthroughs in renovation and resource dependency and to rely less on core product imports while improving on brand position and quality.
Source: Xinhua, January 15, 2018