1st Edition

Understanding Chinese Corporate Governance Practical Guidance for Working with Chinese Partners

By Lyndsey Zhang Copyright 2024
    280 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    280 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In a complex political and environmental global landscape, it has never been more critical for global organizations to understand the past, present, and future of Chinese corporate governance: this book is the key. Leveraging her dual-cultural background and using a board-level practitioner’s lens, Lyndsey Zhang offers insights that will help the global business community better understand Chinese companies’ corporate governance practices and economic development journeys, shorten the learning curve for global business leaders and investors, and explore different economic models that better suit emerging markets. She addresses important questions such as:

    • How does the Chinese government manage to retain its controlling position in Chinese companies while still making them attractive to global investors?

    • What are the drivers for Chinese companies’ future corporate governance improvement?

    • What is China’s position on the worldwide ESG and climate change movements?

    • How can global practitioners feel less like "navigating in the dark" when working with Chinese companies?

    This book will be an invaluable resource for anyone seeking to understand the rapidly changing world of Chinese corporate governance, including global investors, senior executives in multinational corporations, consultants, financial and political policymakers, business and law students, and researchers.

    Foreword. Acknowledgement. List of Case Studies. Introduction. Part One – A Compressed Journey. Chapter 1 – Overview of Chinese Corporate Governance. Chapter 2 – Chinese Companies’ Key Corporate Governance Risks. Chapter 3 – What is Driving China’s Corporate Governance Development? Part Two – ESG In Action. Chapter 4 – The Rise of the ESG Movement in China. Chapter 5 – Driving ESG Revolution from China to the World. Part Three – Reshaping Social and Regulatory Systems. Chapter 6 – Building a High-Quality Social System. Chapter 7 – Building a High-Quality Regulatory System. Part Four – The Key Geopolitical Elements of Chinese Corporate Governance. Chapter 8 – Regional Agreements and Partnerships. Chapter 9 – RMB Internationalization. Chapter 10 – The Future of Hong Kong. Key Recommendations. Conclusion. Appendix 1. China’s Corporate Governance Regulation Reform Timetable. Appendix 2. Beautiful China ESG 100 Index Table 2020 – 2021. Appendix 3.  List of Acronyms. Appendix 4. More Readings. Appendix 5. List of Interviewees. Index. About the Author


    Lyndsey Zhang has extensive corporate experience working with Western and Chinese multinational companies in the automation manufacturing, clean and renewable energies, and solar technology sectors. In CFO and VP of Strategy positions with Chinese companies, and on boards of directors, she directed global expansion projects, fundraised on Hong Kong’s stock exchange, managed cross-border mergers and acquisitions in European countries, and developed post-acquisition strategies for US-based corporations. A popular speaker and podcaster, Lyndsey is an Illinois-licensed CPA and holds an Independent Board Director certificate from Harvard University, as well as an MS in accountancy from Illinois State University and a BS in economics from Xiamen University. She is currently a PhD student at Henley Business School, University of Reading, specializing in ESG and corporate governance.


    With her unique Chinese and American background in both business and academia, Lyndsey Zhang explains the “Compressed Journey” of Chinese corporate governance development using a number of case studies. Through addressing the success stories and upcoming challenges of Chinese companies’ global growth, Lyndsey points out the necessity of the ongoing evolution of the “China Model” and the emergence of the Model's recognition by the global community. Understanding Chinese corporate governance is essential for working with and investing in Chinese companies while comprehending the China Model provides a profound implication in the rising influences of emerging markets economies and the most suitable models to facilitate their growth. I would recommend this book to the business community, business school lecturers and students, and anyone who is interested in unlocking how Chinese culture is deeply rooted in Chinese companies' business and governance practices.
    Professor Lourdes S. Casanova, Senior Lecturer of Management and the Gail and Robert Cañizares Director of the Emerging Markets Institute, Cornell University


    Lyndsey Zhang makes an important contribution to understanding how Chinese companies make decisions. Evolving over a relatively short period, China's corporate governance regime differs in many ways from Western frameworks, whether in terms of executive compensation and incentives, succession planning, risk governance, share ownership structures, audits, transparency, regulations and more. This book uses case studies to illustrate these differences and what they mean for anyone doing business with or investing in companies based in China.
    Michele Wucker, author of THE GRAY RHINO and YOU ARE WHAT YOU RISK


     Global progress on ESG issues requires China to be all in on the subject, and this excellent book would be an important read as a result for any Chinese corporation, public or otherwise, to consider what's best for their own future, and therefore is an imperative read for investors as well.
    Cary Krosinsky, Lecturer at Brown, NYU and Yale University

    I enjoyed reading and strongly recommend Lyndsey Zhang's unique book: Understanding Chinese Corporate Governance: A Practical Guidance for Working with Chinese Partners.
    Why? Because the profoundly different assumptions and business norms of Western and China business are more-or-less impossible for most Western businesspeople to understand China's current corporate governance and emerging developments.
    To intelligently evaluate and explain China's corporate governance, you have grown up immersed in both Western and Chinese business cultures in order to understand the differences and operate adroitly rather than clumsily in one or the other very different mindsets and business cultures. Very few people have that experience and expertise.
    Fewer still are able, as Lyndsey does, to effectively explain China from a Chinese perspective to non-Chinese readers that have entrenched tendencies to judge all matters of corporate governance by non-Chinese norms. As a result, non-Chinese, even those with substantial China business experience don't "get" what is going on in China's corporate governance or in China as a nation. Non-Chinese tend to see China through non-Chinese assumptions. That does not work well for us now that China has grown in a single lifetime into the world second largest economy because it has both Chinese and socialist characteristics.
    Lyndsey's book explains, for example, the astonishing success of what has been called "The China Puzzle." Westerners have assumed only their type of corporate governance work. that a socialist economy in which politics govern business could not produce the astounding wealth and rapid economic and social development China's existing system of corporate governance has produced. But, China's socialist system with Chinese characteristics is poised to suddenly be and be seen to be the largest and in some ways the most advanced economy in the world. 
    Lyndsey's book is unique because it combines that required dual cultural understanding immersion with real world high level Western and China executive experience and native Chinese and fluent English language skills required. She has lived, worked, researched and written a practical business book.
    Lyndsey knows the Western academic corporate governance practices and literature and provides very astute and up-to-date real time explanations of key topics and developments in China's evolving corporate governance and business norms and rules. Her book briefs readers on the latest developments and emerging developments in China business practice and regulation.
    Lyndsey's book includes chapters providing an overview of Chinese SOE and non-SOE corporate governance and risks, what is driving China's changing corporate governance developments, key Chinese and international drivers of Chinese corporate governance changes, ESG in China and the world, factors reshaping China's social and regulatory systems such as the current 5-year plan and China's Social Credit System. She explains how China's government is focusing on building a high-quality regulatory system. She also briefs readers on China's regional agreements and partnerships such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, Belt & Road Initiative and China-Africa collaboration, RMB internationalization and digital RMB, the future of Hong Kong. In reviewing these developments she offers recommendations and a timetable for China's Governments Corporate Governance Reform.
    Lyndsey explains how Chinese business practice is emerging, in key respects, as more advanced than Westerners may presume because Chinese start-up companies are blazing innovative new paths to excellence and rapid global growth and significance. Many Chinese companies Lyndsey presents original case studies on are world leaders with new ways of doing business on a scale that only China's massive population and the world's most rapid economic development makes possible.
    John Millian-Whyte, Chairman & CEO Protection Gap Green Finance (Bermuda) Ltd. Chairman Global Weather Risk Exchange, American China Partnership Foundation