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China's private sector takes back seat in post-COVID recovery

Profits slide for first time while state-owned companies benefit more from stimulus

BEIJING -- Once the driver of China's meteoric growth, private-sector companies in the country are struggling to bounce back from the pandemic downturn as they lose ground to a bloated public sector.

Profits at private-sector industrial enterprises with mainline revenues of at least 20 million yuan ($2.9 million), including manufacturers, mining companies and electricity companies, fell 7.2% in 2022 in National Bureau of Statistics data. This marked the first decline since tracking began in 1997.

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