A long march ahead for China's lumbering state giants

China's state-owned enterprises are powerful but hugely inefficient. Beijing has made tentative steps towards reforming the bloated sector, but it won't be easy.

Chinese state-owned enterprises are known as the elder sons of the People’s Republic. They are afforded an exalted status in the country’s economy: they have access to cheaper state credit and reap the benefits of being a government-sanctioned monopoly in different strategic sectors.

Some of their powerful chief executives hold ministerial ranks and are members of the central committee of the Chinese Communist Party, the body that elects the politburo, which effectively rules the world’s most populous country. 

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