In 2014, the Chinese government adopted a version of the controversial Big Push approach to poverty reduction, and augmented this once-discredited developmental narrative by enlisting very large private enterprises to operate in the poorest regions. Not without controversies, this approach and the resources associated with it has created new state-large business relations in China. This article studies four large enterprises and examines why they participated in poverty reduction, the resulting state-business relations and the outcomes of poverty reduction. The field research was conducted in 2018 through in depth interviews with company management and site visits. The findings show that the local state became collaborators of big businesses that were endorsed by the central government. Whether these relationships become formalised will depend on the future direction of poverty reduction. This research contributes to the literature on how state-business relations may initiate economic growth.