【英语中国】中国如何增强国企活力? China must reform for life after the iron rice bowl

  • A+
所属分类:双语中国

2014-1-9 15:15

小艾摘要: The new leaders of the Chinese Communist party recently announced that the market would play an expanded and “decisive” role in allocating China’s resources. Yet the same announcement reaffirmed th ...
China must reform for life after the iron rice bowl
The new leaders of the Chinese Communist party recently announced that the market would play an expanded and “decisive” role in allocating China’s resources. Yet the same announcement reaffirmed the continued “vitality” of the state-owned enterprises that dominate the country’s economy.

While these two goals appear to be in conflict, they could both be advanced by allocating substantial blocks of shares of such enterprises to the National Social Security Fund, a Chinese manager of pension assets. This approach would have the added virtue of strengthening the pension system by increasing pre-funding of retirement benefits.

In China, a small group of state-owned enterprises hold a near monopoly of power in key sectors – such as banking, energy and transportation – and pay little or no dividends. If China’s economy is to become more productive, they must become more responsive to market forces, with lower customer prices and lower operational costs than competitors. As a result, China has begun negotiations with Europe and the US on investment treaties, which would allow foreign companies to compete in some of the sectors dominated by state-owned businesses.

Chinese leaders should also adopt another strategy to make them more responsive to market forces: establishing a large institutional shareholder that could put pressure on the state-owned enterprises to run more efficiently and pay more dividends. Although most of the large examples have sold shares to public investors, these investors are widely dispersed throughout the world, and have little influence on the corporate strategies of state-owned businesses or their dividend policies.

In other countries, institutional investors with concentrated equity holdings have been effective at imposing market discipline on publicly traded companies, even those controlled by one family or group.

Hedge funds and pension funds holding large blocks of shares in European or US companies have led the fight to make substantial changes when these companies underperform. For example, these institutional activists have persuaded companies to improve the design of executive compensation, sell or spin off unprofitable business units and increase dividends to shareholders.

The best Chinese candidate to become an influential institutional investor is the National Social Security Fund. It manages assets for some pension plans, and it has received a modest portion of the proceeds from initial public offerings of state-owned enterprises.

The national fund already provides some subsidies to local governments to help them pay their legacy pension benefits, but these subsidies must be increased dramatically to sustain China’s current pension system.

Under the current pension system, state-owned businesses and large urban enterprises have generally been required to contribute 20 per cent of the wages of their employees to collective pension pools run by local governments. These employees must also contribute 8 per cent of their wages to individual pension accounts run by local governments. If these pension contributions were invested in diversified securities portfolios, those investments would go a long way towards pre-funding future pension obligations of current workers.

Unfortunately, most of these pension contributions are not being invested by local governments because they must pay legacy benefits to pre-1997 workers who never made any pension contributions during the “iron rice bowl” era.

As a result, most local governments are financing legacy benefits on a pay-as-you-go basis, meaning that the contributions of current workers go primarily to pay the pension benefits of already retired workers.

This pay-as-you-go strategy is very dangerous for China because of its looming demographic challenge. Workers as a percentage of the total Chinese population peaked in 2012 and this percentage is declining rapidly. Despite expanding exceptions to the one-child policy, the number of workers supporting each retiree is projected to decline from six in 2010 to two by 2040.

In other words, the pension contributions from the current generation of workers will be grossly insufficient to pay the retirement benefits of prior generations of retired workers.

In short, by allocating blocks of state-owned enterprise shares to the national fund, the leaders of the Chinese Communist party can achieve three objectives at the same time.

First, with these blocks of shares, the national fund can bring market forces to bear on such businesses to improve their productivity and increase their shareholder returns. Second, as these state-owned enterprises became more productive and profitable, they could continue to be important economic participants in China. Third, the higher shareholder returns at these businesses would allow the national fund to help local governments pay the legacy benefits that are undermining the current pension system.

Robert Pozen is a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School. This article was co-authored by Theresa Hamacher, president of Nicsa

中共新一届领导人最近宣布,市场应当在分配中国资源的过程中发挥更大的、“决定性”的作用。然而,同一份公报也再次肯定了主导中国经济的国有企业,称其依然很有“活力”。

这两个目标表面上是矛盾的,然而通过将这些国企的大量股份分配给中国养老金资产管理机构——全国社会保障基金(NSSF),它们有望同时得到推进。这种方法还有一个附带好处:它能通过增加养老金的预先融资,加强整个养老保险体系。

在中国,少数国有企业在银行、能源和交通运输等关键行业拥有近乎垄断的地位,却几乎从不支付任何红利。如果中国经济要变得更有效率,这些企业就必须对市场力量作出更灵敏的反应,实现比竞争对手更低的客户价格和运营成本。其结果是,中国已与欧美开启投资协定谈判,这些协定将允许外国企业在部分由国有企业主导的行业与它们展开竞争。

为了推动国企对市场力量作出更灵敏的反应,中国领导人还应该采取另一个策略:建立一个能够对国企施加压力,令它们提高运营效率并支付更多红利的大型机构股东。尽管多数大型国企向公众投资者出售了股票,但这些投资者散布在全世界,对国企的企业战略及红利政策没有什么影响。

在其他国家,持有可观股份的机构投资者一直能够有效地迫使公开上市公司遵守市场纪律——即使是由单个家族或集团控股的公司也不例外。

在令那些业绩不佳的欧美企业做出大幅变革方面,那些持有大量股份的对冲基金和养老金基金始终在发挥带头作用。比如,这些机构维权投资者说服企业改善高管薪酬设计、出售或剥离不能盈利的业务部门,以及提高支付给股东的红利。

在中国,能成为有影响的机构投资者的最佳候选者是全国社会保障基金。该基金目前为某些养老金计划管理资产,并得到国有企业首次公开发行(IPO)所得的一小部分。

这个国家基金已向地方政府提供部分补贴,以帮助他们支付遗留养老金福利。然而,要维持中国目前的养老金体系,这些补贴必须得到大幅增加。

在当前的养老金体系中,国有企业和大型城镇企业一般要向地方政府管理的集体养老金池缴付相当于员工薪水20%的供款。同时员工本人也必须向地方政府管理的个人养老金户头缴纳其薪水的8%。如果这些养老金供款被投资于多元化证券组合,这些投资将大大有助于对当前员工的未来养老金支付义务进行预先融资。

不幸的是,这些养老金供款多数并未被地方政府用于投资,因为他们必须支付1997年之前员工的遗留养老金福利,这些员工在“铁饭碗”时代从未缴纳过养老金供款。

结果,多数地方政府都在以“现收现付”方式为遗留养老金福利提供资金。也就是说,当前员工缴纳的养老金供款主要被用于支付已退休员工的养老金福利。

由于中国正在隐隐浮现的人口结构问题,这种现收现付的方式对中国来说非常危险。中国从业人员占总人口的百分比于2012年达到峰值,目前正迅速下降。尽管中国正在放宽对独生子女政策的限制,但供养每位退休人员的劳动者人数预计将从2010年的6个下降到2040年的2个。

换句话说,来自当前员工的养老金供款将会严重匮乏,不足以发放前几代退休员工的退休金。

简言之,通过将部分国有企业股份分配给全国社保基金,中共领导人将同时实现三个目标。

首先,全国社保基金能通过这些股份,让国企承受市场力量,促使它们提高生产率及股东回报率。其次,随着这些国企变得更有效率,更具盈利能力,它们有望继续成为中国经济的重要参与者。第三,这些企业更高的股东回报率,将令该基金有能力帮助地方政府支付遗留退休金福利——目前这些遗留福利正在削弱中国养老金体系。

罗伯特?波曾是哈佛商学院(HBS)资深讲师。本文共同作者特里萨?哈马克(Theresa Hamacher)为美国国家投资公司服务协会(NICSA)会长。

译者/简易

本文关键字:双语阅读,小艾英语,双语网站,双语中国,实时资讯,互联网新闻,ERWAS,行业解析,创业指导,营销策略,英语学习,可以双语阅读的网站!
  • 我的微信
  • 扫一扫加关注
  • weinxin
  • 微信公众号
  • 扫一扫加关注
  • weinxin

发表评论

:?: :razz: :sad: :evil: :!: :smile: :oops: :grin: :eek: :shock: :???: :cool: :lol: :mad: :twisted: :roll: :wink: :idea: :arrow: :neutral: :cry: :mrgreen: