China is close to completing a long-targeted overhaul of operations at its state-owned enterprises, or SOEs, saying Wednesday that a modernization of their corporate structures will be finished this year. All major companies owned by the central government, excluding financial and cultural firms, will be transformed into limited-liability or joint-stock companies by Dec. 31, according to a plan released by the State Council, or cabinet. Already, about 90% of these state-owned companies have completed the restructuring, the cabinet said. As part of the overhaul, companies are setting up boards of directors to make important decisions, such as those related to hiring and compensation, the State Council said. However, the ruling Communist Party, which currently appoints senior managers at the SOEs, is expected to maintain a strong influence over decision-making at the companies, The Wall Street Journal reports. The cabinet said the enterprises must ensure the party’s “core leadership” role through their appointments of company officers and establishment of party organizations
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