Record profits for Chinese state-owned companies. Too good to be true?

The State Administration Commission reports a 23.4% increase in profits. The result of the government led reforms: reduction of overproduction and mixed ownership to improve the efficiency of state industries. But the question of the credibility of the statistics remains. The case of the city of Baotou.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Caixin) - In the past year, Chinese state-owned enterprises have accumulated profits of 2900 billion yuan (US $ 450.3 billion) according to figures broadcast by the national television, citing data from the State Administrative Commission. The figure, almost equal to the Belgian economy, represents an increase of 23.4% compared to 2016.

According to the data, the revenues of state-owned companies grew by 14.7% and paid 11.5% more taxes.

The exceptional results come after some government decisions to impose a reduction in excess capacity in production - including coal and steel. These measures have reduced supply and increased prices for many products, especially coal and energy.

The government is also reforming the ownership of state-owned enterprises by pushing towards a mixed ownership, introducing private investors to improve efficiency and competitiveness.

The problem of the reliability of these statistics and measurements remains. The collection of economic data is based on how much local governments communicate to the central government. But very often local governments manipulate figures either out of personal ambition or to get more help from Beijing.

Just today is the city of Baotou (Inner Mongolia) admitted to having inflated the figures of tax revenues in 2016 by more than 49%.