China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) plan to invest over CNY10 trillion in more than 1,300 “new infrastructure”-related projects across the country during the 14th Five Year Plan period (2021-25), injecting new impetus into efforts to sustain economic growth, said senior state-asset regulators. Unlike traditional infrastructure such as railways, roads and water conservancy, the concept of “new infrastructure” refers to critical facilities based on information technologies like 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), the industrial internet and the internet of things (IoT). SOEs will accelerate the pace of reform and innovation, and focus on areas such as industrial security, national economy, people’s livelihood and public services to promote the transformation and development of traditional sectors. They will also bolster the growth of emerging industries, said Peng Huagang, Secretary General of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC).
More than 700 subsidiaries of nearly 70 centrally administered SOEs have expanded their activities in the field of “new infrastructure”-related businesses, with an investment of more than CNY400 billion in 2021. Addressing a news conference in Beijing, Peng said that backed by China’s structural adjustment funds and innovation funds for SOEs, state-owned companies’ investment in emerging industries grew from less than CNY700 billion in 2017 to more than CNY1.3 trillion in 2021, with an average annual growth rate of more than 20%.
SOEs have already established a number of digital innovation platforms like new energy vehicles, the Beidou navigation satellite system, e-commerce and blockchain, as well as platforms for sectors like offshore engineering equipment, logistics and big data by the end of 2021. China has been working on an integrated big data system across the country, which involves eight national computing hubs and 10 national data center clusters, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) announced.
SOEs’ investment in “new infrastructure”-related projects will accelerate the integration and application of innovative technologies like AI and big data with the real economy, and support the digital transformation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), said Liu Xingguo, Researcher at the China Enterprise Confederation in Beijing. Weng Jieming, Vice Chairman of SASAC, said that in the next step, the government will focus on deepening the supply-side structural reform and building world-class enterprises to further promote strategic restructuring and professional integration of central SOEs. The overseas assets of central SOEs have reached nearly CNY8 trillion to date, with over 8,000 projects in more than 180 countries and regions, Weng said, as reported by the China Daily.