By Benjamin Kang Lim and Ben Blanchard
(Reuters) - While the new seven-member Politburo Standing Committee unveiled on Wednesday by China's ruling Communist Party was not packed with people regarded as close to President Xi Jinping, his allies dominate the new Politburo - the second tier in Beijing's power structure.
Of the 25 members of the Politburo, at least 14 were known to be close to Xi, according to sources with ties to the leadership and foreign diplomats in Beijing.
In five years time, some of them could be promoted to the Standing Committee, China's pinnacle of power.
The 14 exclude Xi himself, who heads the Politburo.
By comparison, the new Standing Committee included just one close Xi ally, although the other members are not seen as rivals.
Xi's known allies on the Politburo, in alphabetical order:
Cai Qi, Beijing party boss
Chen Miner, Chongqing party boss
Chen Xi, who is likely to become minister of the party's organisation or personnel department
Ding Xuexiang, who is expected to become Xi's chief of staff as director of the party's General Office
Huang Kunming, expected to become the party's propaganda minister
Li Hongzhong, Tianjin party boss
Li Qiang, Jiangsu party boss
Li Xi, Liaoning party boss
Li Zhanshu, who is tipped to become head of parliament having been appointed the third ranked member of the Standing Committee
Liu He, economic adviser
Wang Chen, a vice chairman and concurrently secretary-general of parliament
General Xu Qiliang, a vice chairman of the Central Military Commission
Yang Xiaodu, minister of supervision and deputy secretary of the anti-corruption watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection
Zhang Youxia, a vice chairman of the Central Military Commission
The average age of the new Politburo is 62.48 compared with 61.16 five years ago
The oldest member is General Xu Qiliang, a vice chairman of the Central Military Commission. Xu and five others are at the cusp of retirement at 67 and can only serve one five-year term.
The youngest is Guangdong party secretary Hu Chunhua, who was born in 1963. Two others were born in the 1960s, Chen Miner and Ding Xuexiang, 1960 and 1962 respectively. A fourth, Li Qiang, was born in 1959.
Sun Chunlan, minister of the party's United Front Work Department, is the lone woman in the new Politburo. The previous Politburo had two women.
Top diplomat Yang Jiechi surprisingly made it to the Politburo and could become one of four vice premiers, the first diplomat to hold that post since Qian Qichen, who was vice premier from 1993 to 2003. Qian was instrumental in breaking China out of diplomatic isolation after the military crackdown on the 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy protests.
General Zhang Youxia, a close Xi ally, is a Politburo newcomer. He is one of two vice chairmen of the Central Military Commission, and his promotion confirms a Reuters report on Oct. 17.
Vice President Li Yuanchao, outgoing Propaganda Minister Liu Qibao and former Xinjiang party boss Zhang Chunxian have not reached retirement age but did not retain their Politburo seats.
Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong is not on the new Politburo, most likely dashing his chances of becoming party boss of China's financial capital.
China's top cop, Politburo member Guo Shengkun, is expected to become security chief.
There are no ethnic minorities on the new Politburo.
(Reporting by Benjamin Kang Lim; Editing by Tony Munroe & Simon Cameron-Moore)