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China hires seven firms to audit state firms' overseas assets

[BEIJING] The Chinese government has hired seven accounting firms to carry out an audit of the overseas assets of China's state-owned enterprises, the sector's regulator said on Wednesday, as it tries to improve transparency and combat corruption.

The State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission said that it will spend 11.39 million yuan (S$2.7 million) on hiring the accounting firms, one of which is PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Three of the accounting firms will look specifically at the state-owned companies' overseas assets, while the other four will look at key projects, it added.

State news agency Xinhua said the more than 110 centrally-administered state-owned firms held over 4.3 trillion yuan in overseas assets as of the end of 2013.

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Xinhua said earlier last month that China does not audit those assets, highlighting difficulties the government faces when expanding its anti-corruption drive.

Xinhua added that the accounting firms must "work within the Chinese legal framework". It did not elaborate.


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