China's high technology manufacturing remains expansive
Global Times


A view of unloading scene in a port in Liangyungang, East China's Jiangsu Province on August 21, 2019. (Photo: VCG)

In a list of the top 500 Chinese enterprises for 2019 unveiled on Sunday, manufacturing companies had the largest share, with 244 entries.

The figure shows the key position in the economy of this sector, which experts said is at a crucial point in its reform and innovation.

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec), China National Petroleum Corp and State Grid Corp of China held the top three spots on the list, jointly released by the China Enterprise Confederation and the China Enterprise Directors Association at the Top 500 Chinese Enterprises Summit 2019. The list has a threshold of 32.3 billion yuan ($4.51 billion) in terms of revenue.

The two bodies also released a list of the top 500 Chinese manufacturing enterprises, with an 8.9-billion-yuan threshold. 

Sinopec led this list with 2.74 trillion yuan of revenue, followed by SAIC Motor Corp with 902.1 billion yuan and Huawei Investment & Holding with 721.2 billion yuan. 

The rest of the top 10 on the top manufacturing list were Dongfeng Motor Corp, FAW Group, China Minmentals, Amer International Group, BAIC Group, North China Industries Group and China National Chemical Corp. 

The top 500 manufacturing enterprises made total revenue of 34.9 trillion yuan in 2018, up 9.7 percent from the previous year. The overall margin stood at 980 billion yuan, an increase of 19.4 percent year-on-year.

The concentration of manufacturing companies on the list shows that this sector, especially traditional manufacturing is still a core industry in China's economy, but the trend of high technology is slowly catching on, Xu Hongcai, deputy director of the economic policy commission at the China Association of Policy Science in Beijing, told the Global Times over the weekend.

"Apart from the traditional manufacturing companies in heavy industries such as automobiles, it is worth noting that companies in technology like Huawei are going strong in the economy," Xu said. 

Xu noted that the economy still faces downward pressure, and there is a consequent lack of investment in the manufacturing sector, which means it's urgent for the sector to focus on research and development (R&D) as well as innovation.

Huawei ranked first among the companies in terms of R&D investment.

On Saturday, the official manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) for August was released by the National Bureau of Statistics. Overall, the sector slipped to 49.5 points from 49.7 in July. However, the PMI for high-technology manufacturing was in expansion territory at 51.2, which was 1.7 points higher than the overall PMI. 

The contraction of the manufacturing sector is partly due to the pressure of the trade war, but the general trend shows stability in the sector and a potential for structural reform, Dong Dengxin, director of the Financial Securities Institute at the Wuhan University of Science and Technology, said.

"The large proportion of manufacturing companies in China's top 500 enterprises shows that the sector is still going strong," Dong said, adding that "but as PMI in August suggests, the demand for traditional manufacturing is shrinking and the sector has entered a crucial stage of reform."