© Reuters. People walk through an overpass near Beijing’s central business area

BEIJING (Reuters) – China will seek to attract foreign investment in its larger state-owned enterprises (SOEs), which are undergoing reforms to make them more competitive, the head of the country’s state asset regulator said.

China began a new round of reforms in 2016 aimed at streamlining its lumbering SOEs by introducing private capital, curbing overcapacity, shutting down “zombie” subsidiaries and restructuring assets.

Private and foreign firms should “actively participate in reform and development of central enterprises, and jointly explore ways of deep cooperation including mixed-ownership”, Xiao Yaqing, chairman of the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), said on the regulator’s website on Sunday.

China has been promoting “mixed-ownership” reforms aimed at introducing private capital and management methods into giant central government SOEs.

The SASAC will also support investment by state giants in private and foreign firms, Xiao said, without giving details.

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