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Huawei Tech knocks out Legend Holdings to take No 1 spot in China top 500 private business list

Huawei Technologies has replaced Legend Holdings as China’s top private enterprise by revenue, according to the latest rankings by the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce.

Huawei rose to the top place with annual revenue of 395 billion yuan (HK$460 billion) in 2015, according to the China Top 500 Private Enterprises 2016 list released by the federation on Thursday. Shenzhen-based Huawei was followed by Suning, a Nanjing-based home appliance retailer with an annual earnings of 350.3 billion yuan. Shandong Weiqiao Pioneering Group, an aluminium smelter, took the third spot with annual earnings of 333.2 billion yuan in 2015.

Legend Holdings, parent of the country’s largest PC maker Lenovo, dropped to the fourth spot, earning 309.8 billion yuan in the year.

The top 500 private companies were ranked according to their business revenue in 2015, with the lowest posting 10.2 billion yuan, 7 per cent higher than the previous year’s lowest place.

The 500 posted combined business revenue of 16.2 trillion yuan in 2015, up 10.2 per cent on a year earlier, but the growth rate fell 1.2 percentage points from that of 2014. It was a sharp drop when compared with 2013’s growth rate of 24.9 per cent.

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“Soaring labour costs, heavy taxes and charges, financing difficulties, inadequate market demand and irregular market orders were found to be the main obstacles to the top private enterprises,” the federation said on its website.

Private businesses were also faced with challenges such as emissions reduction and energy conservancy pressures, weak intellectual property rights protection and difficulties entering sectors still dominated by state-owned-enterprises.

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Beijing has launched a spate of measures to buoy private investment, with limited effect.

National Bureau of Statistics data showed private sector investment growth slumped to a record low of 2.8 per cent by the end of July, as corporates chose to hoard cash instead of invest it against lacklustre economic prospects.

Huawei has risen in the limelight as the telecommunications giant shifts to the consumer electronics sector. Huawei kept leading China’s smartphone sector in the second quarter.

Research firm Kantar said Huawei, with a market share of 25.7 per cent, was confidently ahead of rivals Xiaomi, with an 18.5 per cent share, and Apple Inc, whose market share lost 1.8 percentage points to 17.9 per cent in the period.