Important English Vocabulary from “The Economist”-(Day-8)

Important English Vocabulary from “The Economist”-(Day-7):

Dear Readers, to score good marks in English Section first and for most thing is you need to develop your reading skills, while reading a passage you need to highlight the tough words in it and you should know the correct meaning for those words. This will help you understand the passage clearly and also you can learn more new words, it means also you can develop your vocabulary. To help you in this part we have provided a passage along with meaning, synonyms and usages of hard words in the passage, make use of it.

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Reform of China’s ailing state-owned firms is emboldening them – Part-2

Public and private:

Shanghai is also an example of how parts of the country can outpace others in SOE reform. Last August the People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s main newspaper, hailed the city as a model for other local governments. Shanghai moved quickly to classify its SOEs as either commercial (eg, SAIC Motor) or in public service (eg, Shanghai Metro). This is a distinction that the central government wants to see applied nationwide, so that companies classified as commercial can be treated more like private firms. Shanghai’s commercial SOEs have more leeway to hire managers from the private sector and to pay market rates.

Another potentially promising idea is “mixed-ownership reform”, a fancy term for allowing SOEs to sell stakes to private investors, as in the case of Yunnan Baiyao. The thinking is that private shareholders will demand more from SOEs, especially if their investment is combined with a seat on the board. As a concept it is not new: many big SOEs have been listed on the stockmarket since the early 2000s, attracting outside investors. But Cao Zhilong of Shanghai United, a law firm, thinks this round of mixed-ownership reform could lead to bigger deals: “The word privatisation is not used. It is too sensitive. But the state can sell a majority.”

At national level, the mixed-ownership trials have been disappointing. The state is mainly selling minority stakes in the subsidiaries of large groups, such as a 45% share in the logistics arm of China Eastern Airlines, a deal completed in June. But for local SOEs, outright sales are easier. Tuopai, a small town in Sichuan, sold a majority stake in its struggling liquor company to a Chinese private-equity firm last year. The change in culture is already apparent. The company has rolled out slick new adverts and uses designer bottles instead of the old ones with ill-fitting labels. It has also cut about a third of production staff to make way for more automation, the kind of unpopular decision that a government-owned company is loath to make.

In general, though, such deals are rare. This cannot just be blamed on the government; a basic dynamic is also at work. “Profitable SOEs don’t want to sell to outsiders and no one wants to buy a struggling SOE,” says Hong Liang of Everbright Law.

What can be blamed on the government are conflicting messages. Less noted at the time of Mr Xi’s 2013 pronouncement about market forces, but more glaring now, was his declaration that SOEs should continue to play a dominant role in the economy. The implication is that he wants state firms to be better run—hence the emphasis on the market—but only so that they better serve the party by helping it to manage the economy at home and carry China’s flag into foreign territory. Mr Xi has made this point in increasingly strident terms. At a meeting on SOEs last October he devoted his comments not to reform but to the necessity of strengthening the party’s grip. “The party’s leadership of SOEs is a major political principle, and that principle must be insisted on,” he said.

People who work in and with SOEs report a palpable change in atmosphere in recent years. “Party officials are not the same as the technocrats who used to run the SOEs,” says a top banker. “They don’t take risks. Doing nothing is what’s safe.” Some of the most capable employees are leaving SOEs altogether. Political education, always a part of life in state firms, has been stepped up. One manager who recently quit a big state bank said that a campaign exhorting workers to study the party constitution had been unusually intense.

At the same time the government has capped pay for senior executives, concerned that they were getting more than government employees of equivalent ranks, stoking resentment. Yet on an international basis, SOE bosses are dramatically underpaid. The president of PetroChina, the country’s biggest oil company, earned 774,000 yuan ($112,000) in 2016; the CEO of Chevron, a firm of roughly the same market value, pulled in a handsome $24.7m.

Signs suggest that after seeing morale suffer without any improvement in performance, the party is rethinking at least some of its policies. A senior official in charge of supervising SOEs said in June that it would be wise to delegate power to company boards, giving them more say over long-term planning and hiring decisions. Li Keqiang, China’s prime minister, told a meeting of 100 leading executives in April that the government might try to implement a system of performance-linked pay at big state firms. At a conference on July 15th, Mr Xi said it was vital that SOEs reduce their excessive debts (see chart 3).

But Mr Xi’s emphasis on party leadership has also created cover for those seeking to defend and even expand state power. The most important role in this is played by SASAC, the arm of the government that oversees most SOEs. It has pushed for the creation of bigger “national champions” under its control. It has combined China’s two biggest railway-equipment makers and its two biggest shipping groups, and is reportedly working to knot together its two biggest chemical producers. Medium-sized companies, too, have seen plenty of such activity, affecting property, ports, cement and more.

Some mergers make sense: for instance, the steel sector is highly fragmented, a result of local protectionism. But most combinations look more dubious, because state firms are already oversized. The average SOE has about 13 times more assets than the average private-sector firm, according to World Bank estimates. What is more, in many industries, the only competition faced by state firms is from other state firms. Indeed, part of the rationale for the mergers is to prevent SOEs from butting up against each other as they go abroad to win business, as had happened with railway-equipment makers.

Source: The Economist

1). Outpace (Verb)

Definition: go, rise, or improve faster than.

Usage: He outpaced all six defenders.


2). Hail (Verb) past tense: hailed; past participle: hailed

Definition: (of a large number of objects) fall or be hurled forcefully.

Synonyms: beat, shower, rain, fall, pour, drop; pelt, pepper, batter, bombard

Usage: Missiles and bombs hail down from the sky.


3). Distinction (Noun)

Definition: a difference or contrast between similar things or people.

Synonyms: difference, contrast, dissimilarity, dissimilitude, divergence

Usage: There is a sharp distinction between domestic politics and international politics.


4). Leeway (Noun)

Definition: the amount of freedom to move or act that is available.

Synonyms: freedom, scope, room to manoeuvre, latitude

Usage: The government had greater leeway to introduce reforms.


5). Subsidiary (Noun) plural noun: subsidiaries

Definition: a company controlled by a holding company.

Synonyms: subordinate company, wholly owned company; branch, division, subdivision

Usage: He is a director of the company’s two major subsidiaries.


6). Apparent (Adj)

Definition: clearly visible or understood; obvious.

Synonyms: Evident, plain, obvious, clear, manifest, visible
Usage: Their relief was all too apparent.


7). Slick (Adj)

Definition: done or operating in an impressively smooth and efficient way.

Synonyms: efficient, smooth, smooth-running, polished, well organized

Usage: Rangers have been entertaining crowds with a slick passing game.


8). Loath (Adj)

Definition: reluctant; unwilling.

Synonyms: disinclined, ill-disposed, not in the mood; against, opposed, resistant,

Usage: the batsmen were loath to take risks.


9). Conflicting (Adj)

Definition: incompatible or at variance; contradictory.

Usage: There are conflicting accounts of what occurred


10). Glaring (Adj)

Definition: giving out or reflecting a strong or dazzling light.

Synonyms: dazzling, blinding, blazing, strong, extremely bright

Usage: The glaring sun.


11). Implication (Noun)

Definition: the conclusion that can be drawn from something although it is not explicitly stated.

Synonyms: Suggestion, inference, hint, intimation
Usage: The implication is that no one person at the bank is responsible.


12). Strident (Adj)

Definition: (of a sound) loud and harsh; grating.

Synonyms: harsh, loud, rough
Usage: His voice had become increasingly strident.


13). Palpable (Adj)

Definition: (of a feeling or atmosphere) so intense as to seem almost tangible.

Synonyms: Perceptible, visible, noticeable, appreciable
Usage: A palpable sense of loss.


14). Exhort (Verb) gerund or present participle: exhorting

Definition: strongly encourage or urge (someone) to do something.

Synonyms: urge, encourage, call on, enjoin, adjure

Usage: I exhorted her to be a good child.


15). Intense (Adj)

Definition: of extreme force, degree, or strength.

Synonyms: great, acute, enormous, fierce, severe, extreme

Usage: The job demands intense concentration.


16).Cap (Verb) past tense: capped; past participle: capped

Definition: put a lid or cover on.

Usage: He capped his pen.


17). Morale (Noun)

Definition: the confidence, enthusiasm, and discipline of a person or group at a particular time.

Synonyms: confidence, self-confidence, self-esteem
Usage: Morale in the team was higher than it had been for a long time.


18). Delegate (Verb)

Definition: entrust (a task or responsibility) to another person, typically one who is less senior than oneself.

Synonyms: assign, entrust, give, pass on, hand on/over

Usage: She must delegate duties so as to free herself for more important tasks.


19). Instance (Noun)

Definition: an example or single occurrence of something.

Synonyms: example, occasion, occurrence, case, representative case

Usage: there was not a single instance of religious persecution.


20). Dubious (Adj)

Definition: hesitating or doubting.

Synonyms: doubtful, uncertain, unsure, in doubt, hesitant

Usage: I was rather dubious about the whole idea.


21). Rationale (Noun)

Definition: a set of reasons or a logical basis for a course of action or belief.

Synonyms: reason(s), reasoning, thinking, (logical) basis, logic, grounds

Usage: He explained the rationale behind the change.


22). Butt (Verb) gerund or present participle: butting

Definition: (of a person or animal) hit (someone or something) with the head or horns.

Synonyms: headbutt, bunt; bump, buffet, push, thrust

Usage: She butted him in the chest.

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