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The Class of Shareholdings and its Impacts on Corporate Performance: a case of state shareholding composition in Chinese public corporations

Guy S. Liu and Pei Sun
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Guy S. Liu: Department of Economics and Finance, Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH, UK.
Pei Sun: Judge Institute of Management, University of Cambridge.

Corporate Governance: An International Review, 2005, vol. 13, issue 1, 46-59

Abstract: Does the class of shareholdings matter for corporate performance? To answer the question, the paper starts by classifying shareholdings of Chinese publicly listed companies on the basis of the principle of ultimate ownership. A state-dominant shareholding structure is found, in that 81.6 per cent of companies are identified as ultimately controlled by the state. In contrast to our identified shareholdings, the Chinese official shareholding classification is ambiguous for the identification of ultimate controllers of public corporations, which in turn has misled many previous studies in assessing the impact of shareholding classes on performance. Based on our newly established shareholding classes, we undertake a nested performance comparison between these different classes and find significant evidence from the Chinese data that the class of shareholdings does matter for company performance. The least inefficient shareholding class is the holding companies that are wholly listed and have focused industrial business through the state indirect control of the downstream public corporations. This finding provides ground for us to think more about how the corporate control mechanism could be further improved in China's current corporate governance reform. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2005.

Date: 2005
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