Chinese Equity Holding Network

Using data on firm registration and equity ownership from China’s SAIC (State Administration for Industry and Commerce), we map out the entire set of Chinese equity holding networks (EquiNet) from 1980 to 2020, which reflects the dynamic firm-firm equity investment relationships. Individual shareholders are not included in our networks. We identify 5.6 million firms in at least one of the networks and 35 million firms out of the networks. The total registered capital of in-network firms accounts for approximately 80% of the total capital of all the registered firms in China.


All registered firms


In-network firms



Ownership Networks and Firm Growth:
What Can Forty Million Companies Tell Us About the Chinese Economy?

Franklin Allen, Junhui Cai, Xian Gu, Jun “QJ” Qian, Linda Zhao, Wu Zhu

The finance–growth nexus has been a central question in understanding the unprecedented success of the Chinese economy. Using unique data on all the registered firms in China, we build extensive firm-to-firm equity ownership networks. Entering a network and increasing network centrality leads to higher firm growth, and the effect of global centralities strengthens over time. The RMB 4 trillion stimulus launched by the Chinese government in 2008 partially “crowded out” the positive network effects. Equity ownership networks and bank credit tend to act as substitutes for state-owned enterprises, but as complements for private firms in promoting growth.

China Financial Research Conference (CFRC) 2021 Best Paper Award (3 out of 534 papers).

Centralization or Decentralization?
The Evolution of State-Ownership in China

Franklin Allen, Junhui Cai, Xian Gu, Jun “QJ” Qian, Linda Zhao, Wu Zhu

In this paper, we anatomize the state sector and its role in Chinese economy. We propose a measure of Chinese SOEs (and partial SOEs) based on the firm-to-firm equity investment relationships. We are the first to identify all SOEs among over 40 millions of all Chinese registered firms. Our measure captures a significant larger number of SOEs than the existing measure. The aggregated capital of all (partial) SOEs has climbed up to 85%, and the total state capital in all SOEs has increased to 31%, both over total capital in the economy by 2017. The state ownership shows parallel trends of decentralization (authoritarian hierarchy) and indirect control (ownership hierarchy) over time. In addition, we find mixed ownership is associated with higher firm growth and performance; while hierarchical distance to governments is associated with better firm performance but lower growth. Drawing a stark distinction between SOEs and privately-owned enterprises (POEs) could lead to misperceptions of the role of state ownership in Chinese economy.

China International Conference in Finance (CICF) 2021 XiYue Best Paper Award (2 out of 2065 papers).

Microscopic Dynamics of Equity Ownership Networks in China

Junhui Cai, Xian Gu, Linda Zhao, Wu Zhu

Our Team

I am a 4th year Statistics Ph.D. at the Wharton school interested in network analysis, model selection, reproducibility and nonparametric empirical Bayes.

Junhui Cai

Stat PhD student

My research interests are Corporate Finance, Law and Finance, and Banking; Fintech, Network in Finance.

Xian Gu

Associate Professor of Finance

My research interests lie in network analysis, Post-selection Inference, model selection, Bayesian statistics, non-parametric function estimation, and statistical computing. I also enjoy teaching a lot.

Linda Zhao

Professor of Stats and Data Science

My research spans several fields: Macroeconomics, Finance, Machine Learning, Networks, and the Chinese Economy.

Wu Zhu

Assistant Professor of Finance

Our Collaborators

Franklin Allen Imperial College London

Franklin Allen

Imperial College London

Jun QJ Qian FISF Fudan

Jun QJ Qian

FISF Fudan

Haipeng Shen HKU
Dan Yang HKU

Dan Yang


Yucheng Yang Princeton

Yucheng Yang


And more!