Evolution of international and Chinese anti-bribery and corruption compliance programs

Karen Schonfelder (Calgary, Canada)
S. Ramakrishna Velamuri (Department of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, China Europe International Business School, Shanghai, China)
Wilson Liu (China Europe International Business School, Shanghai, China)

Corporate Governance

ISSN: 1472-0701

Publication date: 6 June 2016



The purpose of this study is to explore the regulatory framework in China and the extent to which Chinese multinationals have implemented and disclosed their anti-bribery and corruption (ABC) compliance practices. This is done against the backdrop of the evolving international ABC compliance standards.


This study is based on detailed reviews of the ABC compliance standards of international organizations; legislation passed by the USA, the UK and Chinese Governments; seven semi-structured interviews with leading experts in the field; and comparisons of ABC program disclosures of four Chinese with four best-in-class western multinational corporations.


A high level of convergence was found in the ABC standards published by the international organizations. Several positive features were found in the Chinese ABC regulatory frameworks but our findings indicate that there is minimal disclosure around ABC compliance program practices. This paper shows that a transparent disclosure would represent an easy win for Chinese multinational corporations and contribute to raising their reputations internationally.

Research limitations/implications

While there are numerous studies in the law literature on ABC compliance standards and the extent to which they are effective in achieving their objectives, this is an emergent area in management research, to which our study makes a contribution. Future research could explore how other emerging economies are tackling this important issue.

Practical implications

By proactively adopting ABC compliance practices, corporations can seize the ethical high ground and build solid reputations with their stakeholders.


It is believed that this study is the first academic study that compares Chinese and international ABC standards.



Schonfelder, K., Velamuri, S. and Liu, W. (2016), "Evolution of international and Chinese anti-bribery and corruption compliance programs", Corporate Governance, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 437-451. https://doi.org/10.1108/CG-07-2015-0097

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