A worker maintains electricity transmission lines in Liuzhou, the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. (Photo/China Dail)
The central government has selected State-owned enterprises in seven sectors to pilot mixed ownership reform, including petroleum, railway, aviation, telecoms and defense, according to an Economic Information Daily report.
It is the latest move from the authorities to invigorate the country's SOEs.
Tentative schemes for the first batch of mixed ownership reform pilots are now under deliberation and awaiting final approval, with four of the pilot projects already approved.
The country's aviation and power giants－China Eastern, China Unicom, China Southern Power Grid, Harbin Electric Corp, China Nuclear E&C Group and China State Shipbuilding Corp－make up the lion's share of the first batch of pilot projects, according to the National Development and Reform Commission and the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.
All of these SOEs are monopolies, said Li Jin, head of the China Equipment Management Institute.
"Mixed ownership could help prioritize the companies' management and encourage property rights diversification while encouraging more private capital to invest in SOEs."
Mixed ownership will help link these companies more closely with their shareholders, and the companies will thus act in their own best interests, he added.
The central authorities stressed the significance of mixed ownership for SOEs at the recent Central Economic Work Conference, where senior officials gathered to map out priorities for the coming year.
According to Liu He, deputy head of the NDRC, mixed ownership pilots play the role of an icebreaker in SOE reform, while urging SOEs to improve their management through market-oriented reform.
Sectors including electricity, crude oil, natural gas, railway, civil aviation, telecoms and defense should be key areas for reform, he said.
Sinopec Group is already planning to cooperate with private companies in sales of refined oil.
China National Petroleum Corporation also said earlier it would allow private companies to hold a stake in its oil exploration businesses.
It said on Wednesday that it had implemented guidelines on reforms for a market-oriented economy and mixed ownership, to help "prioritize capital and the business structure while ensuring the maintenance and appreciation of State-owned assets".
CNPC Chairman Wang Yilin said mixed ownership is a significant breakthrough and will be a basic principle for the company.
Stocks of some SOEs jumped on Thursday, with China State Shipbuilding Corp rising 2.45 percent to 29.66 yuan (.27) and China Nuclear E&C Group climbing 5.81 percent.