In the first sign that Beijing is seriously promoting entrepreneurs within the ranks, official media announced yesterday that two tycoons had been made provincial vice-chairmen of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Founded in 1949 at provincial and national levels, the CPPCC is a federation of eight political parties, federations and unions that ostensibly advises the Communist Party on policy matters. However, businessmen were in the past never allowed to take leadership roles. That is changing with the recent appointments of Xu Kuangju, head of the Zhuanghua Group, a petrochemicals giant, to vice-chairman of the Zhejiang advisory group and Yin Mingshang, head of Chongqing Nizhang Group, to Chongqing's advisory group, according to Xinhua. Although the two are still relatively low-level participants in the overall structure of mainland politics, analysts welcomed the move. 'More entrepreneurs will enter the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference,' said Cao Siyuan, one of China's top political reform advocates. 'In the future, more can even become party secretaries, vice-mayors or mayors at the local level.' Andy Xie, a managing director for Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in Hong Kong, said China's entrepreneurial class welcomed the opportunity to enter politics. 'If people aren't in the Communist Party, they're vulnerable,' he said.