The reforms of China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the 1990s were politically unpleasant and socially threatening. There were mass closures of firms, tens of millions of layoffs and stock market listings for many of the biggest state firms, which made them run like private companies. Today, SOEs produce one-third of China’s GDP and provide one-fifth of all its jobs. SOEs have been given the task of re-engineering the relations of production so that they remain at the ‘core’ as espoused by Communist Party of China General Secretary Xi Jinping during the 19th Party Congress. Internally, SOEs drive China’s brand of state capitalism while externally SOEs form part of well-crafted Chinese economic statecraft, signing deals around the world giving the impression of ‘good’ state-run giants comprising an elite class of Chinese firms from the Fortune 500 that are influencing relations between nations and economies.