Big is beautiful? State-owned enterprise mergers under Xi Jinping

Press release

Chinese SOE mergers raise fears of ‘too big to regulate’ companies


The past two years have seen a dramatic wave of mergers among China’s central state owned enterprises (SOEs), intended to improve China’s international competitiveness by reducing duplication and damaging price competition between rival companies. These mergers have occurred primarily in the industries of shipping, commerce, construction, steel, services, and energy.

Figure 1: Mergers of Chinese central state-owned enterprises, 2012-2016

However, a new report from the European Council on Foreign Relations reveals domestic criticism in China that these mergers are instead exacerbating existing organisational problems, such as low efficiency, weak oversight, and communication gaps.

More importantly, they are creating giant new monopolies, which the government will find it hard to constrain. ECFR’s Francois Godement said,

“Unquestionably, the job will be harder for regulators and overseers of these giants. But it is equally possible that the central Party-state has simply decided it cannot track and control a plurality of companies.”


Notes to editors

Francois Godement is available for interview. You can reach him at Or alternatively, contact the press office.


Figure 2: Central State-Owned Enterprise Mergers 2012-2016


Central State-owned Enterprise

Merged Into / Became


China Printing Group Corporation

China Reform Holdings Corporation Limited


Caihong Group Corporation

China Electronics Corporation


China Grain & Logistics Corporation

China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO)


China National Erzhong Group Corporation

China National Machinery Industry Corporation (Sinomach)


China Huafu Trade & Development Corporation

China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO)


CNR Corporation

China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC)

CSR Corporation


China Power Investment Corporation (CPI)

State Power Investment Corporation

State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC)


China Ocean Shipping Group Corporation (COSCO)

China COSCO Shipping Corporation Limited

China Shipping Group Company


China Metallurgical Group Corporation

China Minmetals Corporation


Zhuhai Zhenrong Company

Nam Kwong (Group) Company Limited


Sinotrans & CSC Holdings Company Limited

China Merchants Group Company Limited


Chinatex Corporation

China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO)


China International Travel Services Group

China National Travel Service (HK) Group


Wuhan Iron and Steel Corporation

Shanghai Baosteel Group Corporation


China National Building Materials Group Corporation (CNBM)

China Construction Materials Group

China National Materials Group Corporation Limited (Sinoma)


China National Cotton Reserves Corporation


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