View from China: Stakeholder Capitalism – Wu Chen

From CFO Magazine (link):

Karan Bhatia, the deputy U.S. trade representative, urged China in late January to become a “responsible stakeholder” in its trading relationships with the United States. Here in Shanghai, her remarks created a frenzy as people strove in vain to find a translation for the word stakeholder. That’s because in China, the concept of a company’s responsibility to society, beyond what is owed investors, is absent.

The current Chinese administration frequently offers up slogans about “creating a harmonious society” or “attaining sustainable growth” to enhance social welfare and conquer pollution. But enterprises have turned a deaf ear. Gone are the days of lifetime employment. Workers now take care of their own medical care, education bills, and rising housing expenses. While lip service is paid to corporate social responsibility on environmental issues, the reality is that pollution in China is at a crisis level yet companies seem unconcerned.

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