China Business News, a Beijing-based newspaper managed by the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (AFIC), selected the top ten news in private sectors in 2003 as follows:
1. Private entrepreneurs sparkle on political stage
On January 11, Yin Mingshan, president of Chongqing Municipal Federation of Industry and Commerce and board chairman of Chongqing Lifan Industry (Group) Co., Ltd., was elected vice chairman of Chongqing Committee of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). He was the first private entrepreneur to enter the CPPCC leadership at the provincial level since China's opening-up and reform in 1978.
On January 21, Xu Guanju, president of Zhejiang Federation of Industry and Commerce and board chairman of Zhejiang Transfar Group was elected vice chairman of CPPCC Zhejiang Committee.
At least 65 delegates of the 10th CPPCC are from non-state sector, accounting for 2.9 percent of the total.
2. Private enterprises shoulder social responsibility
Incomplete statistics show that over 9,600 private entrepreneurs and AFIC members donated 840 million yuan (US$101 million) worth of merchandise and cash. In SARS-hit Beijing, 496 private enterprises donated 93 million yuan (US$ 11 million) worth of goods and cash to the Red Cross Society of China and local civil affairs departments.
3. Incidental death of private entrepreneurs in focus
The crimes toward tycoons emerge since the beginning of this year.
On January 22, steel tycoon Li Haicang, also vice chairman of AFIC, was shot dead in Shanxi Province; On February 12, fur tycoon Zhou Zubao from Zhejiang Province was killed at home; On August 17, property tycoon Liu Enqian from Gansu Province was shot dead in Lanzhou; On September 7, Qiao Jinling, the tycoon from Henan Province and board chairman of Henan Huanghe Enterprises Group, died suddenly.
4. Commerce chamber influence government policies
On June 13, the central People's Bank of China issued a circular to curb property development loans and individual housing loans. The measure aims to lower house prices in order for middle- and low-income families to buy houses, however, the house prices are still rising in Beijing. Some property developers attribute the price hike to increasing house costs caused by the new loan policy. The Housing Industry Chamber under the AFIC also complained that the cash chain of small property development companies had been broken, and the "bridge loan" applicants were rising.
On August 31, the State Council issued another circular to affirm the importance of the real estate market, and pledge financial support to the real estate industry.
5. Private enterprises enter oil market
On June 14, the first phrase of the LNG project by Xinjiang Guanghui Enterprise Group started in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The total investment volume is about 8 billion yuan (US$966 million).
At the beginning of November, Hubei Tianfa Holding Co. was granted a license for processed oil trading, following Sinopec and ChinaPetro. It was the first license granted to non-state trading companies.
6. Tycoons in trial
On September 7, the Supreme Court of Liaoning Province made the final verdict on tycoon Yang Bin, who once ranked second in Forbes magazine. He was charged for bribery, falsely registered capital, fraud, illegally farmland occupation, and forgery.
The Shanghai property tycoon Zhou Zhengyi, a former Forbes billionaire, was charged with stock manipulation and falsely registered capital.
7. Lighter makers win dumping case
On September 11, the European Commission said in an official communiqué that an anti-dumping investigation on Chinese lighter makers would end since the European producers withdrew their litigation. The Chinese lighter makers, mainly private enterprises from Wenzhou, southeast China's Zhejiang Province, took many measures to lobby and hire lawyers to appeal final judgment.
Since China's WTO entry in 2001, anti-dumping cases increased sharply. Chinese enterprises come to learn of the anti-dumping experience in their international expansion.
8. Reasonable returns in education investment allowed
Starting from September 1, 2003, The Law on the Promotion of Non-public Educational Institutions took effect. One of the articles concerns how an investor can get reasonable returns from education investment.
9. New breakthrough in private economy theory
On October 14, the third plenary session of the 16th CPC Central Committee said in its decision that it will boost and guide the development of the non-state sector, and allow them to enter infrastructure, public service and other previously forbidden areas.
Also, the latest constitution amendments also suggest the government should protect legal rights and interests of the non-state sector: "Citizen's legal private property as well as its inheritance rights will be protected."
10. First private economy analysis report issued
On December 1, AFIC held a meeting analyzing the development situation of private economy in Zhengzhou, central China's Henan Province, and released its first ever analysis report，illuminating the all-round development of the private sector, including obstacles, environment, and government policy.
(China.org.cn by Tang Fuchun and Daragh Moller, January 5, 2004)