Central State-owned enterprises of China are playing a key role in the success of overseas projects by creating increased, equal employment opportunities in several countries, in line with the principles outlined in the nation’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, a new report said.
The report — Research Report on Overseas Social Responsibility of Central Enterprises — was released on Dec 27 by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. It evaluated the efforts of SOEs in overseas corporate social responsibility activities and was based on 72 surveys collected from 96 SOEs.
According to the report, 96 percent of the surveyed SOEs had specialized mechanisms in place to guarantee employment equality for local and Chinese staff, 76 percent had policies to guarantee equal access to promotion, and 75 percent had systems to ensure equal welfare opportunities.
“Their efforts have bolstered the local job markets and helped the central SOEs’ overall efforts to achieve synergy with local businesses and communities,” said Zhong Hongwu, the director for CSR research at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
By 2017, nearly 10,791 central SOEs had set up branches in 185 countries and regions. Those overseas arms undertook 3,116 projects for a total revenue of 4.7 trillion yuan ($684 billion) and total profit of 106.4 billion yuan. The overseas units of the central SOEs created 360,000 local jobs in the respective countries in 2017.
Sixty-three percent of the central SOEs set up joint ventures with local companies, while 51 percent also offered technology and financial support for construction of local infrastructure
Power Construction Corp of China, or PowerChina is one of the central SOEs that has made significant strides in overseas markets with its various activities. It has helped renovate local churches, schools, roads and bridges while setting up a hydropower plant in Karuma, Uganda.
“We want to create a community with a shared future,” said Zhou Jianping, chief engineer of PowerChina.
The project is expected to add 4 billion kilowatt-hours of power every year in Uganda and bring in about $200 million in revenue for the government.
“Our hydropower and infrastructure projects have instilled vitality in the local job market, and is an integral part of our efforts in building communities with a shared future,” Zhou said.
The project has also created 6,000 job opportunities for local residents. Sinohydro Bureau 8 Co Ltd, a subsidiary of PowerChina that is responsible for the project execution, also undertakes regular trips to China for the Ugandan employees to improve their skills.
“With local employees accounting for up to 90 percent of the workforce at some central SOEs, cross-cultural communications can prove to be a challenge for the company officials,” Zhong said.
He said many central SOEs have set up communication departments to overcome these difficulties.
Moreover, nearly 60 percent of the central SOEs have encouraged their employees to join local labor unions or other associations to gain a better understanding of local culture, according to the report.