Before 1978, state-owned and collectively-owned enterprises represented 77.6 percent and 22.4 percent respectively of China's exclusively public-ownership economy. The policy of reform and opening-up has given extensive scope to the common development of various economic sectors. Individual and private industrial enterprises and enterprises with foreign, Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwan investments have mushroomed.
Reform of state-owned enterprises has always been the key link of China's economic restructuring. The Chinese government has made various attempts to solve the problem of chronic extensive losses in this sector and by now almost every state-owned enterprise has adopted the company system. After being transformed into joint stock companies, the economic benefit of the state-owned enterprises increased steadily and their overall strength and quality were remarkably enhanced, gaining continuously in their control, influence and lead in the whole national economy. In 2004, of the industrial added value created by all state-owned industrial enterprises and non-state industrial enterprises with annual turnover exceeding five million yuan, state-owned and state stock-holding enterprises accounted for 42.4 percent, collectively-owned enterprises 5.3 percent, the rest taken up by other non-public enterprises, including enterprises with foreign, Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwan investments, and individual and private enterprises. The result is a dynamic juxtaposition of diversified economic elements.
In 2004, of Chinese enterprises ranking in the world's top 500, 14 enterprises of China's mainland were all state-owned. Of China's own top 500, 74 percent (370) were state-owned and state stock-holding enterprises, with assets of 27, 370 billion yuan and realizing profit of 266.3 billion yuan, representing 96.96 percent and 84.09 percent respectively of the top 500 corresponding values. Small and medium-sized enterprises and non-public enterprises have become China's main job creators. Private enterprises alone provided 50 percent of employment of the entire society.