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If you try, you’ll get by: Chinese private firms’ efficiency gains from overcoming financial constraints

  • Galina Hale
  • Cheryl Long

It appears to be common knowledge that external financing in China is mostly limited to state-owned firms and is hard to obtain for smaller private firms. In this paper we first confirm this pattern for more recent data and then investigate ways in which private firms overcome their financing constraints. We find that private firms reduce their need for external funds through more efficient management of inventory levels and accounts receivable. We further show that the low levels of inventories and accounts receivable in Chinese private firms are not below efficient levels and are unlikely to be a hindrance to their efficient operations. Instead, these low levels of working capital seem to be correlated with higher financial returns as well as higher productivity. We conclude that while limited access to external financing may limit the growth of private sector in the medium and long run, in the short run the lean operating budget may be contributing to Chinese private firms’ efficiency.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2010-21.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2010-21
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  1. Wendy Dobson & Anil K. Kashyap, 2006. "The Contradiction in China's Gradualist Banking Reforms," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 37(2), pages 103-162.
  2. PONCET, Sandra & STEINGRESS, Walter & VANDENBUSSCHE, Hylke, . "Financial constraints in China: firm-level evidence," CORE Discussion Papers RP 2350, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. Galina Hale & Cheryl Long, 2010. "What are the Sources of Financing of the Chinese Firms?," Working Papers 192010, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
  4. Cull, Robert & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2000. "Bureaucrats, State Banks, and the Efficiency of Credit Allocation: The Experience of Chinese State-Owned Enterprises," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-31, March.
  5. Cull, Robert & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2003. "Who gets credit? The behavior of bureaucrats and state banks in allocating credit to Chinese state-owned enterprises," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 533-559, August.
  6. Cull, Robert & Xu, Lixin Colin & Zhu, Tian, 2009. "Formal finance and trade credit during China's transition," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 173-192, April.
  7. Raymond Fisman & Inessa Love, 2002. "Trade Credit, Financial Intermediary Development and Industry Growth," NBER Working Papers 8960, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Mitchell A. Petersen & Raghuram G. Rajan, . "Trade Credit: Theories and Evidence," CRSP working papers 322, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  9. Wendy Dobson & Anil K Kashyap, 2006. "The Contradiction in China’s Gradualist Banking Reforms," Working Papers Series 08, Rotman Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
  10. Chong-En Bai & Chang-Tai Hsieh & Yingyi Qian, 2006. "The Return to Capital in China," NBER Working Papers 12755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Héricourt, Jérôme & Poncet, Sandra, 2009. "FDI and credit constraints: Firm-level evidence from China," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 1-21, March.
  12. repec:cup:jfinqa:v:46:y:2011:i:06:p:1831-1863_00 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Ge, Ying & Qiu, Jiaping, 2007. "Financial development, bank discrimination and trade credit," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 513-530, February.
  14. Loren Brandt & Hongbin Li, 2002. "Bank Discrimination in Transition Economies: Ideology, Information or Incentives?," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 517, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  15. Galina Hale & Cheryl Long & Hirotaka Miura, 2010. "Where to Find Positive Productivity Spillovers from FDI in China: Disaggregated Analysis," Working Papers 142010, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
  16. Boyreau-Debray, Genevieve & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2004. "Pitfalls of a State-Dominated Financial System: The Case of China," CEPR Discussion Papers 4471, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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