Chinese listed companies have paid out more dividends than before as regulators demanded firms reward investors, official data showed.
In 2017, 2,451 companies listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen gave 979.3 billion yuan (about 155 billion U.S. dollars) in profit to their investors, accounting for 70.3 percent of the total number of listed firms, according to figures from the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC).
That represented an increase from 830.8 billion yuan and 67.3 percent in 2016.
In recent years, authorities have encouraged listed firms to offer more yields to investors in the stock market, where dividend payouts were previously infrequent.
In August 2015, the CSRC and other three government agencies jointly issued a notification, requiring capable listed companies to pay cash dividends.
Regulators can conduct on-site inspections of companies that maliciously refuse payouts, the Shanghai Stock Exchange said in February.
Between 2014 and 2016, Chinese listed companies paid on average over 30 percent of their net profits to shareholders, a moderate level compared with those in other countries.
Dividend payouts are not only good for investors but also listed companies themselves, as they can help reduce stock price volatility and support stable operation, said Kou Guangwu, secretary of the board of directors of the Shanghai-listed Wanhua Chemical Group Co., Ltd.
China has over 3,500 listed firms, with their total market value exceeding 55 trillion yuan.