A worker is seen at a workshop of a refrigeration equipment company in Jinzhou City, north China's Hebei Province, Sept. 19, 2023. (Xinhua/Yang Shiyao)
BEIJING, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- As China makes strides toward high-quality development, private businesses are rising to be a major dynamo propelling the world's second-largest economy forward, noted guest speakers at the China Economic Roundtable hosted by Xinhua News Agency.
Describing the private sector as "crucial and indispensable" to the Chinese economy, entrepreneurs, industry insiders and officials shared their insights during the roundtable, expounding on how private businesses can fuel the country's high-quality development drive.
People often use a combination of numbers to illustrate the significance of the private sector in the Chinese economy. This sector contributes over 50 percent to China's tax revenue and 60 percent to its GDP, and creates over 80 percent of urban jobs.
Attendees of the roundtable discussion deemed the private sector a "proactive pathfinder" of China's high-quality development due to this sector's flexibility, innovativeness, and adaptability to market changes.
"The private sector is playing a vital role in helping China explore new growth drivers for economic transformation, new development tracks for emerging industries, and new paths toward common prosperity," said Wei Chu, vice dean of the School of Applied Economics, Renmin University of China.
In line with the country's overall economic recovery, the private sector saw marginal improvements during the January-September period, posting faster growth in investment in the secondary industry and steady industrial output.
Exemplifying the sector's trailblazing spirit, Chengdu-based Qitan Technology Ltd., a nascent company that focuses on nanopore sequencing technology, has developed China's first nanopore gene sequencer under the backdrop of China's promotion of comprehensive health care.
"We must ride the tide of the times, focus on creating demand and boost our productivity with technological innovation so that we can meet Chinese people's increasing need for a better life and achieve long-term development," said Bai Jingwei, co-founder of the company.
Echoing Bai's views, Wei Dong, head of the newly established bureau for private economy development under the National Development and Reform Commission, said that private firms are fully capable of seizing the new opportunities that emerge in the reshaping of the global industrial structure.
"With efforts to transform development patterns, readjust industrial structures, seek new growth drivers and consolidate their core businesses, such companies are marching on the road toward high-quality development," Wei Dong said.
Established from the ground up in 2004, Guangzhou Hexin Instrument Co., Ltd., a pioneer in the domain of mass spectrometers, is rapidly gaining prominence amid China's pledge to advance sci-tech innovation.
Through years of dedication to innovation, the firm has burgeoned from a five-man workshop into an entrepreneurial success with over a thousand employees. With more than 200 mass spectrometry patents, it is one of the few companies in the world that owns the core technology of high-resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometry.
"I believe that the private sector serves as a pillar of China's economy and offers strong impetus for our country's sci-tech innovation," said Zhou Zhen, president of Hexin.
Currently, the private sector accounts for more than 70 percent of China's technological innovation achievements. Among the country's "little giant" firms -- a term representing the novel elites of small and medium-sized enterprises that specialize in a niche market, boast cutting-edge technologies and show great potential -- the proportion of private businesses has surpassed 80 percent.
Speaking about private companies' efforts in innovation, Wei Chu said that they have an urgent need to become specialized, embrace cutting-edge technologies, and adopt an innovation-driven approach to attain high-quality development. "At the macro level, China manages to cope with the uncertainties stemming from global industrial chain disruptions by sticking to its commitment to innovation-driven growth."
At the roundtable, guest speakers reached a consensus that innovation is the top priority for all private companies and that continued efforts must be made to promote innovation.
STRONGER POLICY SUPPORT
Among its latest moves to nurture the private sector, China established a new bureau for private economy development in September. This move has been widely regarded as a signal of strengthened policy support.
With the aim of providing services to the private economy, the bureau undertakes responsibilities such as staying on top of the development trends of the private economy, focusing on its needs and coordinating and organizing the formulation of policies and measures to promote its development, and providing policy incentives to promote the growth of private investment.
The bureau will also be responsible for establishing a mechanism for regular communication with private enterprises, coordinating efforts to solve major problems concerning the development of the private economy, and working toward enhancing its international competitiveness.
"The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee has always been supportive of the development of private businesses," said Zong Qinghou, founder of Hangzhou Wahaha Group. "Therefore, we should fully grasp the spirit and take bold steps to expand investment and develop ourselves."
Championing a policy that "unswervingly consolidates and develops the public sector" and "encourages, supports and guides the development of the non-public sector," China has unveiled multiple measures in recent years to help the private economy thrive, with spheres ranging from market entry to tax and fee cuts.
In mid-July, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council jointly issued guidelines on boosting the growth of the private economy, promising to improve the business environment, enhance policy support, and strengthen legal guarantees for its development. Relevant departments and local governments have followed suit.
Thanks to such continued support, the number of Chinese private companies surged from 10.86 million in 2012 to over 47 million in 2022, with 28 of them making it onto last year's list of the world's top 500 companies.
Looking ahead, guest speakers at the roundtable said they expect that private companies will enjoy a fairer and more transparent environment for competition, with the thorough implementation of supportive measures.
"I believe that the private sector will play an increasingly important role in China in the coming future," Wei Dong said.
Editor's note: China Economic Roundtable is an all-media talk platform launched by Xinhua News Agency, with the second episode featuring the Chinese private economy.