Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

China told its biggest state-run firms to take control of Hong Kong companies, Reuters reported, a move that would extend the mainland’s reach in a city rocked by anti-Beijing protests for more than three months.

The directive came during a meeting held this week in Shenzhen, where the government urged senior representatives from nearly 100 of China’s largest state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to help cool the crisis in Hong Kong, according to the Reuters report, which cited executives familiar with the matter. Pledges were made to invest more in industries such as property and tourism, according to the report.

In the meeting, organised by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission that oversees China’s SOEs, government firms were urged to assert more control of Hong Kong companies and have decision-making power rather than simply holding stakes, according to Reuters. Most Hong Kong business elite are “just not one of us,” the report cited an unnamed SOE executive who attended the meeting as saying.

Hong Kong is entering a 15th weekend of protests that have at times crippled parts of the financial hub, including its transport network. Demonstrators are concerned about Beijing’s tightening grip on the city, which has seen a plunge in visitors and a slowdown in economic growth.

The State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment on Friday, which is a holiday in China.