China’s outgoing leader Hu Jintao stressed the role of state-owned enterprise in a speech thursday against a backdrop of increasingly critical views on state-driven firms, Financial Times reported. “We should steadily enhance the vitality of the state-owned sector of the economy and its capacity to leverage and influence the economy,” Hu said at the opening of the 18th National Congress, at which he is expected to hand the reins of party power to current vice president Xi Jinping. Economists and multilateral organizations have warned against increasing the power of state enterprise, which tightly guard access to China’s strategic industries. “We have too many state-owned enterprises which are very inefficient and too many monopoly industries,” Mao Yushi, an influential economist, said before the speech. The World Bank has said Beijing should check the power of the firms.