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Improving Corporate Internet Reporting in China

For decades companies have disseminated information through traditional paper-based methods such as annual reports. This traditional method of reporting is limited by numerous issues and so cannot properly reflect the current state of the business world. Corporate Internet Reporting (CIR), however, differs from paper-based reporting in that it offers various benefits such as wide coverage and unlimited information capacity. Currently, there is an increasing trend for companies to utilise CIR to disclose information to stakeholders. In China, however, firms are lagging behind in the uptake of this technology. With limited CIR literature in the Chinese context, and no CIR practice model to guide Chinese companies, the provision and quality of their CIR practices are low. The aim of this research is to develop and apply a CIR practice model for Chinese public listed companies and, further, to make recommendations as to the improvement of Chinese CIR practice. To achieve this purpose, a disclosure index was constructed with the support of 25 panel experts, 46 questionnaire survey participants, and 40 interviewees from various stakeholder groups. The index was then applied to three groups of the largest 25 Chinese companies that are listed in either A shares, A+B shares, or A+H shares on the Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong Stock Exchanges. The collected data were quantified and analysed to determine the extent and quality of Chinese firms’ CIR practices; in addition, several factors that may influence the level of CIR practices of Chinese listed companies were examined. The research outcome indicated that the current level of Chinese CIR was poor in both extent and quality, and an extensive information gap between the expectations of Chinese stakeholders and the actual practices of Chinese corporations was identified. It is contended that factors such as low recognition of the organisation-stakeholder relationship and a lack of generally accepted CIR theoretical framework and practice guidelines have contributed to the current level of Chinese CIR practices. It was also found that A and A+H shares groups report significantly more than the A+B shares group, and firms in finance and insurance industry tend to disclose and offer significantly more information and website features than corporations in the other two business sectors (manufacturing and others). Lastly, a significant correlation was found in factors such as firm size, profitability-PAT and institutional ownership, and profitability-ROE. However, no significant relationship was identified for the other two determinants (state ownership and public ownership). It is believed that the findings of this research can assist in the improvement of current Chinese CIR as well as the development of CIR practice guidelines applicable to the Chinese context.
Type of thesis
Liu, G. (2014). Improving Corporate Internet Reporting in China (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/8836
University of Waikato
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