© Reuters. Xiao Yaqing, chairman of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) attends a news conference in Beijing

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Xiao Yaqing, director of China’s state-owned asset regulator, has been appointed head of the country’s market regulation administration, state television reported on Saturday.

Xiao’s appointment came after the incumbent director of the State Administration for Market Regulation, Zhang Mao, reached the mandatory retirement age of 65.

Formerly the president of the Aluminium Corporation of China, Xiao was appointed head of the State-Owned Asset Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) in 2016, presiding over an ambitious period of reform for China’s state-owned sector.

China has sought to slim down its state sector with the aim of creating a smaller number of “world-class” firms capable of competing internationally, but analysts say the effort to create more flexible management and ownership structures has put SASAC’s long-term future as a regulator in doubt.

The State Administration for Market Regulation was formed last year after a wide-ranging overhaul of government departments, and is responsible for areas such as intellectual property and market competition.

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