AFTER selling 30 per cent of its stake to foreigners, Guizhou Rubber Parts Co witnessed its first change apart from the name change to Guizhou Dazhong Rubber Co - fewer supervisors but clearer responsibilities. 'In the past, we had several supervisors for each production line. Now, we have only one each who will take full responsibility for the line,' said Zhang Shengjun, director of the 25-year-old plant. 'There is also a conceptual change on operations. We now have much more confidence in finishing jobs given to us,' he said. This transformation is the result of information exchanges following the move by Singapore-based Natsteel Chemical Co and an affiliate early this year to buy a combined 30 per cent holding in the state-run factory. Natsteel Chemical Co is a subsidiary of Singapore-listed Natsteel Group. Mr Zhang said the factory now did not face its previous shortages of working capital. 'Our product brand, Qianjing, has quite a good reputation on the mainland, but we wanted to expand overseas because that is how an enterprise should develop,' he said. 'We want to learn the modern way of business administration and the latest technology. 'Having the majority stake is no longer meaningful for an enterprise; what concerns an enterprise more is development opportunities,' he said. The result has been satisfactory. 'Staff were sent to Singapore for training. That was a good experience for them,' Mr Zhang said. 'Besides, we get to know more about the overseas market. That helps to widen our information intake and expand our client base. Now our market is broadened to include South Africa and the United States.' Recalling feelings about the change in ownership structure, Mr Zhang said all parties were nothing more than patient, and the results were showing with the company aiming to boost exports from five per cent last year to 20 per cent next year. Sale of equities in enterprises has been recognised as the most accessible way to revitalise state enterprises, most of which have cash-flow problems. However, equity sales have not been popular in Guiyang where the market for the transfer of property rights is still only in the planning stage. Daniel Ong, deputy director of Guizhou Dazhong Rubber, who represents Natsteel at the plant, said the Singapore firm bought into the factory because of the promising outlook of China's car industry. 'The auto rubber parts sector is a direct beneficiary of the rosy outlook of the car industry,' he said. 'We have been looking for many plants in China, and we believe this plant is one of the best, especially as it has a famous brand name.' He said Natsteel had also been impressed by the city's huge reserves of natural resources, including coal and hydro-power generating potential. The city had among the cheapest electricity fees in China, Mr Ong said. Paving the way for the change in ownership, the rubber parts-maker has spun-off its social welfare division into a separate company. Of the plant's 1,700 workers, 300 will be grouped into the separate company which will take care of the social welfare business of the factory and which will be retained by the state. Natsteel Chemical says it intends to raise its equity stake in the Guiyang plant to 50 per cent within a year.