The World’s Largest Shareholders: Understanding China’s National and Regional SASACs

Anyone investigating China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) will eventually come across their primary owner, one of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commissions (SASAC). There are multiple commissions at every level of government in China, from the national level to the city district level, charged with managing SOEs.

SASACs’ role in managing SOEs makes them significant players in the fastest growing emerging market. According to a 2006 assessment by Boston Consulting Group, the national SASAC’s controlled enterprises accounted for $1.06 trillion in revenue, prompting them to dub the commission “the world’s largest shareholder.”

SASACs’ financial footprints have grown significantly since then. In 2019, annual revenue of enterprises managed by the national level commission grew to $9.5 trillion (62.55 trillion RMB). Smaller, regional SASACs have a large cumulative impact on the nation’s economy as well, pulling in an annual revenue of $4.1 trillion (26.65 trillion RMB) in the same year.

In spite of their intimidating scope, SASACs are highly transparent about their holdings and regularly publish reports on enterprises under their control. As government entities, SASACs have no shareholders and are instead managed through legally defined intra-governmental hierarchies. Examples of how to identify these key pieces of information from primary sources are included in this report.

This report will give you a foundational understanding of the role SASACs play within SOEs, how SASACs relate to other branches of government, and how to assess risk associated with SASACs.

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Download the Understanding China’s National and Regional SASACs report

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