China to allow private investment in 80 projects

BEIJING Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:55am EDT

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang claps as he attends the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2014 in Boao, Hainan province April 10, 2014.REUTERS/China Daily

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang claps as he attends the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2014 in Boao, Hainan province April 10, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/China Daily

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will allow private investment in 80 projects spanning the energy, information and infrastructure sectors as part of reforms to increase privatization, Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday.

The 80 projects involving solar energy, hydro power, wind power, and oil and gas pipelines, previously areas monopolized by the state, will be open to public tender, Li said.

In future, other sectors such as utilities, airports and oil and gas exploration will also be open to more private investment, he told a weekly cabinet meeting.

His comments were posted on a government website and no further details were provided.

Allowing more private investment in China's centrally planned economy is part of government's plans to reduce state intervention and let market forces play a bigger role in the world's second-biggest economy.

Investment by state-owned companies and provincial and city

governments, which have combined outstanding debt of $3 trillion as of June last year, have been criticized by some analysts for being inefficient.

But other economists say critics exaggerate the degree of waste, saying instead that China's economy would not have had its blazing rise in the past decade if not for the enterprise of state employees such as local government officials.

(Reporting by Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Robert Birsel)