REGULATIONS to prevent the Chinese state losing billions of yuan as state enterprises restructure are likely to be in place early next year, according to Wang Jue, an influential economics professor at the Central Party School. According to Xinhua (the New China News Agency), China loses more than 30 billion yuan (about HK$40.2 billion at the official rate) each year as state assets are written over to individuals, intentionally undervalued before sale to investors or simply taken over by new management groups. The new regulations, expected to define state enterprises' property assets more clearly, are designed to enable the state to hold on to its property as market reforms continue. Professor Wang said yesterday in Hong Kong that a planned committee to run state assets might take two to three years to set up. He said the committee would be above the existing National Administrative Bureau of State-Owned Property in the government hierarchy. The committee would be a transitional one, he said. The longer-term aim would be for the management of state assets to become completely independent of government control. Although state properties are in theory owned by the bureau, state enterprises' property rights and related responsibilities are unclear. Calls for a clearer definition of property rights in enterprises were endorsed at the recent Third Plenum of the Central Committee. Xinhua said yesterday that the draft rules emphasised the Government's supervisory role in reorganising assets. ''Stringent examinations should be completed before approval when transferring them to individuals, private enterprises or foreign investors.'' In another key reform, Professor Wang said, foreigners were likely to be allowed to buy stakes in large enterprises. He said all investors, including foreign ones, would be allowed to take equity stakes in large enterprises. But he stressed that the Government would retain a controlling stake in enterprises in key industries such as transport and energy. He told a China-Hong Kong Economic and Trade seminar: ''China, in the course of changing from a planned economy to a socialist market economy, is to re-establish enterprises' primary position in the market.'' Conferences on planning and economic reform being held in Beijing have approved the restructuring of at least 100 large-scale and medium-sized enterprises. Beijing University economics professor Xiao Zhuoji said quality, not quantity, should be the criterion on which enterprises' success was judged.