China's top 500 companies outperformed their US counterparts for the first time last year, a survey conducted by a business group has revealed, as the financial crisis wreaked havoc in the United States.
A Sinopec station in Beijing. China's Sinopec said Sunday first-half net profit rose more than fourfold from a year earlier to 33.25 billion yuan (4.85 billion dollars), helped by higher refined oil prices in the domestic market.
Net profits at the nation's highest-performing firms totalled 171 billion dollars in 2008, compared to 99 billion dollars for the US firms, according to the survey by the China Enterprise Confederation (CEC).
The business group has compiled a list of China's top 500 companies, similar to the Fortune 500, since 2002.
The Chinese firms saw their profits fall by 13.2 percent in 2008 compared to the previous year, according to the survey posted on the CEC's website -- still a better performance than the Fortune 500's 85 percent drop in profits.
The company that topped the list was state-owned giant Sinopec, the largest oil refiner in Asia, with revenue of 1.5 trillion yuan (215 billion dollars) in 2008, according to the survey, which was posted at the weekend.
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the country's biggest lender, ranked fourth on the list with a turnover of 490 billion yuan.
CEC vice-president Wang Jiming said the performance of China's top 500 in 2008 showed the financial crisis had less of an impact on the Asian nation's firms than on their US and global counterparts.
But he added it did not signal any substantial improvement in overall competitiveness.
"Chinese enterprises enjoy a good policy and domestic market environment," he was quoted as saying on the website.
"But compared to big global companies, they... still lag behind in resource allocation, innovation, international presence, business models and corporate culture."