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China's state control of economy grows with 50 backdoor takeovers

Scrapping of Ant IPO comes amid squeeze on private sector this year

Guards stand outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.   © Reuters

SHANGHAI -- The suspension of Ant Group's much-awaited stock market debut, reportedly at President Xi Jinping's behest, is only one sign of the Chinese government's increasing domination of private-sector companies.

China's government, state-owned enterprises or state-backed funds have taken de facto control of 51 companies so far this year, up from around 20 to 30 in 2018 and 2019, disclosures by listed companies show.

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