John Foley is Reuters Breakingviews' China editor. Based in Beijing, he writes on China’s economy and financial markets. John established Breakingviews’ Hong Kong bureau in 2009, and previously wrote on mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and consumer goods in London. Before joining Breakingviews in 2004, John worked as a copywriter for a London-based advertising agency. John read English Literature at Exeter College, Oxford. Follow John on Twitter @johnsfoley
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Private shareholders can bring extra discipline to the country’s 150,000 state-owned enterprises. CITIC and Sinopec have set the ball rolling. But for real efficiency, SOEs need to pay market rates for debt as well as equity. The key is to get on with half-finished bank reforms.
The sacking of China Resources’ chairman will worry other state company bosses. But shareholders in Chinese groups have less to fear from government crackdowns on powerful individuals than the culture of treating outside investors as an afterthought. This remains unaddressed.
Though it hasn’t been slower since 2009, the pace of expansion in the world’s second-biggest economy is still rapid enough to avert the need for a humiliating stimulus. The big exception is real estate, where some kind of meddling to ease a funding crunch looks unavoidable.
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