BEIJING — China’s top state-assets manager plans to hire independent accounting firms to examine the overseas assets of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) administered by the central government.
In a move to address growing concerns about lack of transparency regarding SOEs’ overseas assets, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC) will purchase third-party services from accounting firms through a bidding process starting on April 7, it said on March 17.
The firms that bid must be established in accordance with Chinese laws and be qualified to provide services to the government, according to a statement posted on the SASAC website.
The bidders must have no record of major law violations or administrative punishment by financial departments in the past three years, and their activities must not have been restricted by authorities in the same time frame.
Bidders who have engaged in auditing work for the SOEs in question or their overseas subsidiaries between January 2012 and December 2014 will also not be considered, the statement said.
Dong Dasheng, former chief of the National Audit Office, said earlier this month that the massive volume of state assets overseas was basically unaudited, leaving many gray areas. Analysts estimate the overseas assets of China’s more than 110 centrally-administered SOEs exceeded 4.3 trillion yuan ($698 billion) as of the end of 2013.
According to the statement issued on March 17, the SASAC will put on seven packages for bidding, three of which will specifically target examination of SOEs’ overseas assets while four will target examinations of SOEs’ key projects.
The SASAC will entrust the China CNTC International Tendering Corporation with the bidding work.