“China’s top 500 firms outperform US rivals in 2008
Published: Monday September 7, 2009

China’s top 500 companies outperformed their US counterparts for the first time last year, a survey conducted by a business group has revealed, as the financial crisis wreaked havoc in the United States.

Net profits at the nation’s highest-performing firms totalled 171 billion dollars in 2008, compared to 99 billion dollars for the US firms, according to the survey by the China Enterprise Confederation (CEC).

The business group has compiled a list of China’s top 500 companies, similar to the Fortune 500, since 2002.

The Chinese firms saw their profits fall by 13.2 percent in 2008 compared to the previous year, according to the survey posted on the CEC’s website — still a better performance than the Fortune 500’s 85 percent drop in profits.

The company that topped the list was state-owned giant Sinopec, the largest oil refiner in Asia, with revenue of 1.5 trillion yuan (215 billion dollars) in 2008, according to the survey, which was posted at the weekend.

Sinopec also made it to the top 10 of the Fortune Global 500, coming in at number nine.

China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), the nation’s largest oil producer, came second with a turnover of 1.3 trillion yuan, and the State Grid Corporation of China followed with 1.1 trillion yuan in revenue.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the country’s biggest lender, ranked fourth on the list with a turnover of 490 billion yuan.

The top 34 firms on the list are state-owned entities.

CEC vice-president Wang Jiming said the performance of China’s top 500 in 2008 showed the financial crisis had less of an impact on the Asian nation’s firms than on their US and global counterparts.

But he added it did not signal any substantial improvement in overall competitiveness.

“Chinese enterprises enjoy a good policy and domestic market environment,” he was quoted as saying on the website.

“But compared to big global companies, they… still lag behind in resource allocation, innovation, international presence, business models and corporate culture.”

The nation’s top companies also did well on the world stage, eclipsing Britain for the first time in terms of the number of firms in the Fortune Global 500, Wang said.

According to the 2009 global list, 37 Chinese companies qualified — a jump of eight firms compared to the previous ranking. But only 26 British firms made it onto the list.”

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