Tips for Finding Information on Projects and Stakeholders
Explore websites of Chinese companies, banks and other stakeholders
Company websites are an important source of information. They can contain company background and structure, information on the projects you are concerned about, names of executives, annual and financial reports, news updates, and company policies. They may also include fax, phone, email, hotlines and details on complaints-receiving mechanisms. Many Chinese companies and banks operating outside China, as well as government bodies, now have English-language websites. Some also have sites in other languages, including French, Spanish and Russian. However, the Chinese versions often have more information and are more up to date than their English versions. If you open Chinese-language sites in a browser like Chrome you can translate the webpage.
Stock exchange websites
Chinese companies have listed on stock exchanges around the world, but mostly in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. When companies list on a stock exchange, they are required to follow certain rules. These includes rules around information disclosure. You can search stock exchange disclosure pages to see listed company announcements. To do this you will need to find the company’s stock code, which you can find on the company website or via an internet search. Codes for Shanghai look like SSE: 601669, for Shenzhen SZSE: 000758, and Hong Kong SEHK: 3988. Announcement pages can be found here:
Site specific search
If you want to search a website to see if it has any content on a specific project or country, you can use site search in Google. To do this, copy the website URL into the search bar, delete the “https://” and replace it with “site:”, then add a space and your search term. For example:
site:www.cnpc.com.cn myanmar gas pipeline
You can also try some basic searches in Chinese. For example, if you are looking for information about Sinomach’s activities in Cambodia, use Google Translate to find the Chinese name for Cambodia (柬埔寨), then copy and paste this into your search:
For more tips on how to get the most out of Google see:
Check social media
Many Chinese companies now have Twitter and Facebook accounts. Some have subsidiary- or project-specific accounts. By following these you may be able to follow a project’s progress and see useful images of the project site. Individuals working for Chinese companies and banks may also have LinkedIn accounts. If possible, you can also try to follow the WeChat “public accounts” of companies and their projects. Although these accounts are likely to be in Chinese, this is the most popular social media platform in China and accounts often have more current information than company websites or other social media platforms.
Company and bank reports
Many Chinese companies and banks now publish annual financial and sustainability/corporate social responsibility reports. These can provide additional detail on company operations and finances. They may also include contact information for their various offices, email, phone and fax numbers.
Be aware of China’s internet restrictions
Unfortunately, due to China’s Internet restrictions, accessing Chinese websites from outside the country can be difficult at times. You may have to refresh the page multiple times. If a site will not open, try again another day. If you have access to a VPN (virtual private network), you can set your location to China and browse Chinese websites more easily. Using the TOR Browser can also help get around this problem.
Other useful resources
There are many useful resources that document Chinese global investment and finance, some quantitative and some project- or company-focused.
The People’s Map of Global China: A platform providing profiles on Chinese projects around the world and country profiles documenting China’s diplomatic and economic relationships with various countries.
Business and Human Rights Resource Centre: Their company index archives articles and reports related to over 20,000 global companies, including many Chinese companies. This includes company track records of responding to civil society and community correspondence.
BankTrack: The Dodgy Deal database documents profiles of projects or companies financed by commercial banks that have been identified as damaging to the environment or society. This includes Chinese commercial banks.
Boston University Global Development Policy Center: Databases on China’s Global Development Finance and China’s Global Energy Finance includes details of hundreds of policy bank loans issued between 2008 and 2019.
Chinese Loans to Africa Database: Interactive data project by the China Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University. Contains details of Chinese lending to Africa covering 2000 to 2019.