China’s 10 largest companies have grown eight-fold in value over the past decade, according to an inaugural Hurun Research Institute report, shedding light on a sector that contributes half of the nation’s tax receipts and 80 per cent of jobs. The 10, led by e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group Holding, were valued a combined US$1.8 trillion, a size that would rank them as the 10th largest by gross domestic product surpassing Canada, were they an economic entity, based on International Monetary Fund data. The snapshot comes from an inaugural list of 500 most valuable private companies released by Hurun on Thursday, and based on data up to November 2019. Alibaba (US$545 billion), Tencent Holdings (US$408 billion), Ping An Insurance (US$215 billion) are the top trio. Huawei, the subject of US security scrutiny over alleged embedded spyware in its telecoms systems, was ranked fourth, with a valuation of US$172 billion while Alibaba’s unlisted affiliate Ant Financial came in fifth at an estimated US$143 billion. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post . The ranking underscores how four decades of China's capitalist market reforms have transformed the profile of the nation's economic structure, enabling private enterprises to thrive in a market that is nominally commanded and dominated by the Communist Party. It also h ighlights the explosive growth of the private sector at time when Beijing is concerned about employment numbers as the world’s second largest economy faces a slowdown amid a costly US-China trade war. The top 10 firms had a combined value of US$700 billion five years ago, and US$215 billion ten years ago. The Hurun list of 500 are based on non-state controlled entities with headquarters in mainland China and command at least US$2 billion in value. China issues 28-point plan to ease the fears of its private entrepreneurs amid slowdown Their role of such private entities was recently emphasised in a 28-point plan, released by the central government on December 22, to “forge a better environment to support private businesses.” It promises a fairer competitive environment for private businesses, which have endured discriminatory policies aimed at shoring up the fortunes of state-owned enterprises. “Companies on the Hurun China 500 create significant value for local governments, in terms of GDP, industry development, tax revenues and skilled labour,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of the Hurun report. Half of them are in emerging industries, especially in the fields of advanced manufacturing, health care, media and entertainment and e-commerce, the report shows. About two-thirds are listed companies, while the rest are non-listed companies or only partially listed, he added. China’s private companies making a pig’s ear out of paying their bills as economic slowdown bites “We are in an era when it is about value created rather than sales generated that ought to be used to differentiate the best companies in China,” Hoogewerf said. “Some of the Hurun China 500 make only relatively small revenues, but create massive shareholder valu e.” For examples, Hengrui Medicine and Haitian, valued at US$55 billion and US$42 billion respectively, on revenues of only US$3 billion, he added. Beijing hosted 101 entrants on the top 500 list, according to ranking by cities, while the southern Guangdong province had the headquarters with 117. The top 500 companies have a combined value of US$5 trillion, according to the Hurun list, a size that surpassed the GDP of Germany, Europe’s single largest economy, based on the IMF data.