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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. Sandra Poncet & Walter Steingress & Hylke Vandenbussche, 2008. "Financial constraints in China: firm-level evidence," LICOS Discussion Papers 22608, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  2. Genevieve Boyreau-Debray & Shang-Jin Wei, 2005. "Pitfalls of a State-Dominated Financial System: The Case of China," NBER Working Papers 11214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Mitchell A. Petersen & Raghuram G. Rajan, 1996. "Trade Credit: Theories and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 5602, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ge, Ying & Qiu, Jiaping, 2007. "Financial development, bank discrimination and trade credit," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 513-530, February.
  5. 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.
  6. Galina Hale & Cheryl Long, 2010. "What are the Sources of Financing of the Chinese Firms?," Working Papers 192010, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
  7. Héricourt, Jérôme & Poncet, Sandra, 2009. "FDI and credit constraints: Firm-level evidence from China," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 1-21, March.
  8. Chong-En Bai & Chang-Tai Hsieh & Yingyi Qian, 2006. "The Return to Capital in China," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 37(2), pages 61-102.
  9. Raymond Fisman & Inessa Love, 2002. "Trade Credit, Financial Intermediary Development and Industry Growth," NBER Working Papers 8960, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. repec:cup:jfinqa:v:46:y:2011:i:06:p:1831-1863_00 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Cull, Robert & Lixin Colin Xu & Tian Zhu, 2007. "Formal finance and trade credit during China's transition," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4204, The World Bank.
  12. 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.
  13. Brandt, Loren & Li, Hongbin, 2003. "Bank discrimination in transition economies: ideology, information, or incentives?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 387-413, September.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
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