China's GDP growth in 2012 was 7.8 percent, the lowest since 1999. However, the private sector alone contributed over 60 percent of GDP growth last year.
The importance of the private economy is obvious, but chronic problems such as obstacles in attracting investment, unfair competition against big state-owned enterprises and high risks in doing business abroad continue to limit private sector growth.
How will the government handle these problems? Beijing Review reporter Wang Wenjie interviewed the country's political advisors during the first session of the National Committee of the 12th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, or CPPCC, the country's top political advisory body.
Lian Lianggui, Vice Chairman of Tianjin Federation of Industry & Commerce and President of Investment Corporation under Tianjin Binhai Zhe Tradespeople, said private companies deserve a fairer competitive environment.
"Private companies were treated less fairly than their state-owned counterparts in terms of policy-making and project implementation. This must be revised. It will be better if we were granted preferential policies in the government's policy-making process," Lian said.
Wang Zaixing, Chairman of Hong Kong Haode Group, echoed Lian's views.
"The government needs to improve mechanism for a fair competition and opitmize investment process for medium-sized and smaller enterprises as a whole. The policies concerning private companies should be implemented completely," Wang Zaixing said.
Wang Wei, Vice Chairman of the Guizhou Federation of Industry & Commerce and President of Anshun Xingwei Industrial Development Co. Ltd., said people have differing opinions of private companies. The negative impression mostly comes from some companies' lack of social responsibility.
"The private economy has developed rapidly thanks to the reform and opening-up policy since the late 1970s. Entrepreneurs should take greater social responsibility when their businesses grow bigger. Our success is based on the country's development and our contribution to society is also a way of actualizing ourselves," Wang Wei said.