In 2004, state-owned industrial enterprises and non-state enterprises with annual turnover exceeding five million yuan achieved industrial added value of 5,480.5 billion yuan and realized profits of 1,134.2 billion yuan, representing 16.7 percent and 36 percent year-on-year rises respectively, and revealing a gratifying simultaneous improvement in speed, quality and benefit. Since 1996, China has led the world in the production of steel, coal, cement, farm-use chemical fertilizer and television sets.
Before 1978, state-owned and collectively-owned enterprises represented 77.6 percent and 22.4 percent respectively of China's exclusively public-ownership economy. The policy of reform and opening-up has given extensive scope to the common development of various economic sectors. Individual and private industrial enterprises and enterprises with foreign, Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwan investments have mushroomed.
Reform of state-owned enterprises has always been the key link of China's economic restructuring. The Chinese government has made various attempts to solve the problem of chronic extensive losses in this sector and by now almost every state-owned enterprise has adopted the company system. After being transformed into joint stock companies, the economic benefit of the state-owned enterprises increased steadily and their overall strength and quality were remarkably enhanced, gaining continuously in their control, influence and lead in the whole national economy. In 2004, of the industrial added value created by all state-owned industrial enterprises and non-state industrial enterprises with annual turnover exceeding five million yuan, state-owned and state stock-holding enterprises accounted for 42.4 percent, collectively-owned enterprises 5.3 percent, the rest taken up by other non-public enterprises, including enterprises with foreign, Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwan investments, and individual and private enterprises. The result is a dynamic juxtaposition of diversified economic elements.
In 2004, of Chinese enterprises ranking in the world's top 500, 14 enterprises of China's mainland were all state-owned. Of China's own top 500, 74 percent (370) were state-owned and state stock-holding enterprises, with assets of 27, 370 billion yuan and realizing profit of 266.3 billion yuan, representing 96.96 percent and 84.09 percent respectively of the top 500 corresponding values. Small and medium-sized enterprises and non-public enterprises have become China's main job creators. Private enterprises alone provided 50 percent of employment of the entire society.
China's machinery manufacturing industry can provide complete sets of large advanced equipment, including large gas turbines, large pump storage groups, and nuclear power sets, ultra-high voltage direct-current transmission and transformer equipment, complete sets of large metallurgical, fertilizer and petro-chemical equipment, urban light rail transport equipment, and new papermaking and textile machinery. In 2004, exports of machinery and transportation equipment (mainstay and leading performer in China's export trade since 1996) reached US$ 268.3 billion, 42.8 percent more than in 2003, a growth rate of 9 percentage points higher than that of exports overall.
In the 1990s, the automobile industry developed steadily as a key sector, output nearly quadrupling from 514,000 in 1990 to 2.07 million in 2000. In 2004, output and sales volume of automobiles each surpassed five million, of which 2.314 million being sedans, and 2.327 million were sold. Automobiles, the high-class consumer durable with the lowest rate of ownership, now show the fastest retail growth rate of any commodity in China.