Survey: Indian firms best, China worst on transparency

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India has the most transparent companies while Chinese firms are the most opaque, according to a global anti-graft watchdog's survey released Monday that assesses efforts by emerging market companies to fight corruption.

Transparency International said the report's findings were "pathetic" and highlighted the urgent need for big multinational companies to do more to fight corruption.

The report covered 100 companies in 15 emerging market countries that also included Brazil, Mexico and Russia. The overall score slipped since the last Transparency In Corporate Reporting survey in 2013, falling a fraction to 3.4 out of 10, with three quarters of companies scored less than half.

The Berlin-based watchdog warned that the failure of a vast majority of companies surveyed to operate transparently risks creating an environment for corruption to thrive both in their businesses and the countries where they operate.

Thirty-seven Chinese companies were evaluated, making them the survey's biggest group, but they had the weakest overall performance. The three companies that scored zero out of 10 were all Chinese: automaker Chery, appliance maker Galanz and auto parts maker Wanxiang Group. The list's bottom 25 spots were also dominated by Chinese companies.

"The very weak Chinese results stem from weak or non-existent anti-corruption policies and procedures, or a clear failure to disclose them in line with international practice," Transparency International said in a press release accompanying its report.

Indian firms, on the other hand, dominated the top spots, in part because of strict government requirements for financial dislosures, including subsidiaries operating in different countries. Telecom company Bharti Airtel took first place with a score of 7.3 out of 10, followed by six units of conglomerate Tata and technology company Wipro.

Only one Chinese company, telecom gear maker ZTE, placed in the top 25.