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The Big Story

Xi doctrine comes before profit for China's state-owned companies

'Original aspiration' campaign keeps Conch and Moutai occupied

KENJI KAWASE, Nikkei Asian Review chief business news correspondent | China

HONG KONG -- When Gao Dengbang, chairman of Anhui Conch Cement and its parent Conch Group, entertained Li Zhong -- head of his company's ultimate shareholder, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of Anhui Province -- on July 4, it was more than a simple business visit. Li's purpose, explained the company's official website, was not only to discuss Anhui Conch's financial performance, but to inspect how the company was conducting educational programs to support the new doctrines of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Xi's latest mantra, propagated during a major policy speech on May 31, is: "Remain true to our original aspiration and keep our mission firmly in mind." With the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic approaching on Oct. 1, the state propaganda machine is in full swing to make sure that the message permeates throughout society, including into corporate boardrooms. Huge amounts of time and energy have been spent trying to divine the meaning of, and act in accordance with, Xi's sacred pronouncements.

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