China's top 500 companies outperformed their US counterparts for the first time last year, a survey conducted by a business group has revealed, as the financial crisis wreaked havoc in the United States.
Net profits at the nation's highest-performing firms totalled USD 171 billion in 2008, compared to USD 99 billion for the US firms, according to the survey by the China Enterprise Confederation (CEC).
The business group has compiled a list of China's top 500 companies, similar to the Fortune 500, since 2002.
The Chinese firms saw their profits fall by 13.2 per cent in 2008 compared to the previous year, according to the survey posted on the CEC's website -- still a better performance than the Fortune 500's 85 per cent drop in profits.
The company that topped the list was state-owned giant Sinopec, the largest oil refiner in Asia, with revenue of 1.5 trillion yuan (USD 215 billion) in 2008, according to the survey, which was posted at the weekend.
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the country's biggest lender, ranked fourth on the list with a turnover of 490 billion yuan.
CEC vice-president Wang Jiming said the performance of China's top 500 in 2008 showed the financial crisis had less of an impact on the Asian nation's firms than on their US and global counterparts.