China's listed firms saw profits rise in 2013, but a weak start this year has highlighted challenges ahead in sustaining momentum, latest data showed.
As of 10:00 p.m. Tuesday, 2,519 listed companies on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges had released their annual reports for 2013, which showed a 13.75-percent rise in net profits for a total of 2.26 trillion yuan (366.9 billion U.S. dollars), according to Wednesday's Shanghai Securities News. Annual reports for listed companies are due at the end of April.
The rise was mainly due to a notable profit rebound of over 20 percent in the third quarter of last year, even though growth slowed to 13.2 percent in the fourth quarter.
The electronics, telecommunications and non-banking financial sectors were among the most profitable, with growth of over 50 percent in 2013.
But according to reports on 2014 first-quarter results released so far, profit growth for China's listed companies has narrowed to 10 percent or less, signaling challenges ahead for 2014.
As of Tuesday, around 85 percent of listed companies had reported quarterly results, with profit growth at 8 percent for the first quarter as China's growth slowed to 7.4 percent during the period, marking the lowest quarterly expansion rate since the third quarter of 2012