State Owned Enterprise Reform and Party-Business Relations in China

Professor Kjeld Erik Brødsgaard, Director of the Asia Research Centre, Copenhagen Business School

A China Studies Centre Distinguished Speaker lecture

24 April

Chinese business groups have grown into huge enterprises with significant economic and political clout. As a result of institutional reform, corporate restructuring, and listings in China and abroad, these business groups, especially within the energy sector, have become so big, profitable and well-connected that they are challenging the authority of the central government. Yet, increasingly, business leaders are appointed to government positions as ministers or provincial governors. What is the mechanism of this elite circulation and how does it impact the power relations between Party-state- business in China? Will increasing rotation between leading positions in the Party, government, and business strengthen the Party and government control of the corporate sector or will it strengthen big business’ influence on the decision-making processes and policy outcomes in the Chinese polity?

This lecture addresses these questions based on in-depth studies of the Chinese nomenklatura system and advances the notion of fragmented integration to characterize the evolving relationship between business groups and the Party-state. The seminar also argues that in order to abolish vested interests and interest politics, reform of the role, function, and organization of Chinese business groups is necessary.

Image for Professor Kjeld Erik Brodsgaard lecture

Kjeld Erik Brødsgaard is Professor and Director of the Asia Research Centre, Copenhagen Business School. He has held visiting research appointments in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and the US. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Government, Beijing University, and an Honorary Research Associate at the East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore. He is member of the editorial board of a number of scholarly journals and the founding Editor of The Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies. His most recent books include Bringing the Party Back In: How China is Governed (2004) (with Zheng Yongnian), The Chinese Communist Party in Reform (2006, and 2009) (with Zheng Yongnian); Hainan – State, Society and Business in a Chinese Province (2009; paperback edition 2013); and Globalization and Public Sector Reform in China (forthcoming). He has published numerous scholarly articles in leading international journals including Asian Survey, China: An International Journal, Issues & Studies, Modern China and The China Quarterly.

His current research covers state, party and public management in China; the civil service system and administrative reform; the nomenklatura system and cadre management; and the structure and impact of Chinese business groups in China as well as on the global-level playing field.