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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.

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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