The impact of split share structure reform on corporate governance in China : an empirical analysis of ownership structure and firm performance of listed companies
China has embarked on a wide range of economic reforms in the past thirty years. One of the major reforms was to restructure state-owned enterprises (SOEs) into public listed companies (PLCs) to improve the performance and quality of corporate governance of SOEs. However, the unique phenomenon of China’s equity market is that the state continues to hold a controlling stake in PLCs with less than 40% of shares tradable in the stock market. This seriously affects the performance and quality of corporate governance of China’s PLCs. This mini-thesis investigates the effects of split-share structure reform on SOEs in China, with particular focus on an analysis of the relationship between ownership structure and firm performance of listed companies. By using a sample of the top 50 companies based on the ranking of the 2004 Fortune top 100 PLCs, a negative correlation was found between the state ownership structure and firm performance of China PLCs before the announcement of split-share structure reform. However, by using the same samples and techniques, the analysis shows that the improvement in the diversified ownership structure had a positive impact on firm performance in China PLCs after the reform.