Today, we hear a lot about Chinese investments and money pouring into diverse markets and even Chinese loans being used to bail out struggling economies. The world is wondering “is China really that rich?” and the answer is yes, since the country has managed to accumulate huge financial assets in recent years.
While the sales and financial assets of Chinese companies have continued to grow for the past decade, more and more focus seems to be placed on their domestic and global performance in the realm of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Therefore, leading Chinese companies have started making fundamental changes in their strategic thinking, placing greater emphasis on becoming some of the world’s most reputable and pre-eminent brands.
..Looking to Expand Globally
Chinese business leaders have recognized the need to evolve, particularly in the area of CSR in order to become more competitive on a global scale. With the growing presence and influence of Chinese companies abroad, host countries increasingly expect Chinese companies to contribute positively to their sustainable development objectives and not to merely profit from their investments. The rise of more conscientious domestic and global consumers and investors, the prevalence of social media and the increasingly competitive global marketplace can all be viewed as key initial drivers for Chinese attention to CSR.
Becoming a Leader through CSR
The Chinese government has strongly supported the concept of CSR as a way for Chinese companies, mainly state owned, to drive harmonious integration into the broader global market. But, on the other hand, China wants to create its own CSR definition and guidelines that fit its unique economic situation and business culture.
Like many of their Western counterparts, Chinese companies faced a variety of societal and market pressures that ignited their CSR journey. However, perhaps more than their competitors, many Chinese companies view their futures as inextricably linked to their CSR performance and have begun viewing it as a potential competitive edge. China has learned that CSR, in the current economic and political landscape, will help the country to become a leader, not a follower.