February 15, 2007
NGOs in China
Today's New York Times carries an interesting article on the growth of NGOs (real NGOs, not organizations like the Women's Federation) in China.
February 12, 2007
Chinese law school rankings
There has been a bit of discussion over at the Chinalaw list about rankings for Chinese law faculties; here is the result. I have edited the contributions a bit. ADDED FEB. 13: Let me stress that we don't know the methodology behind these rankings; in particular, so far as I know, the universities don't supply data to the rankers. For a critique of the rankings (in Chinese), see here.
From Wei Luo:
The most popular ranking of Chinese higher education institutes has been done by 武书连 《中国大学评价》 (here). He and his associate also rank Chinese law schools here. Unfortunately, the details of his ranking methodology is not described at his website.
John Graham has kindly translated the university and law school rankings at the above links. Thanks also to Xin Dai for pointing out that under the Department of Education's classification system, "law" here is an umbrella term encompassing the majors of law, Marxism, sociology, politics, and public security.
1. Tsinghua University
2. Beijing University
3. Zhejiang University
4. Shanghai Jiaotong University
5. Nanjing University
6. Fudan University (Shanghai)
7. Huazhong University of Science and Technology
8. Wuhan University
9. Jilin University (Changchun)
10. Xi'an Jiaotong University
1. A++ Beijing University
2. A++ People's University (Beijing)
3. A++ Wuhan University
4. A++ Tsinghua University
5. A+ China University of Political Science and Law (Zhengfa Daxue)
6. A+ Jilin University
7. A+ Fudan University
8. A+ Southwest University of Political Science and Law (Xinan Zhengfa Daxue)(Chongqing)
9. A Zhongnan University of Economics and Law (Zhongnan Caijing Zhengfa Daxue)
10. A Zhejiang University
11. A Xiamen University
12. A Zhongshan University
13. A East China University of Politics and Law
14. A Nanjing University
15. A Nankai University (Tianjin)
16. A Huazhong Normal University
17. A Suzhou University
18. A East China Normal University
19. A Shandong University
February 11, 2007
Putting stock market craziness in perspective
What is surprising is the surprise that sophisticated people show over the fact that China's stock market behaves like an emerging market. China's stock markets were founded exactly 15 years ago, which means theat they are in their infancy. It would be useful for someone to benchmark the development of China's stock market against other emerging markets. In Hong Kong, big families like Li Kashing often control two-thirds of the voting shares, with consequences for minority shareholders very similar to what happens in China when listed companies remain 2/3 state controlled; that's gradually ending in China, but not in Hong Kong. In Taiwan it is common for company founders to take out huge bank loans, collateralized with shares of their companies, to boost their own stock prices; this has a marvelous effect on both their stock options and their ability to borrow more money from the banks (collateralized by even more inflated stock prices). Such practices are analogous to the common Chinese practice of managements taking out bank loans to buy their own stock and bid it up to lure unsuspecting investors until they can very profitably dump their own shares. In Indonesia and Thailand, far older markets have lax acounting standards even by comparison with China. One of my more endearing experiences with the Thai stock market was when my youngest analyst called me up at 2:00am one morning during a hectic roadshow to tell me that he'd caught the old CFO of Alphatech, Thailand's most prestigious high tech company, lying about the funds available for their next bond payment. When we tried to notify our customers, Swiss lawyers tied us up until the scandal hit the front page of the Financial Times; Alphatech had reported a very good profit when its actual result was a $128 million loss. (Swiss law, by the way, sternly enforces the rules that make such opacity possible for any company that has issued a Swiss franc convertible bond.) That sort of thing was more common than not in Thailand and contributed greatly to the extent of the collapse in 1997. The big Chinese companies mostly seem to be adhering to considerably higher standards, to an extent that makes a Thai-scale crisis unlikely, although their standards are woefully low by comparison to the U.S. and U.K.
Although I haven't done the benchmarking study, I spent enough years earning my living from watching the pratfalls of Asian markets to be quite confident that the rate of improvement of China's stock market greatly exceeds that of most of its emerging market competitors. The regulators are among the most determined reformers I've ever known. Precisely because of determination to improve things, the Chinese leadership imports a good many of them from Hong Kong; many of them, like Laura Cha, find it exasperating to try to move things forward rapidly despite the interest group pressures and the government's fears that reform will deprive it of the ability to fund the pension system by selling SOE shares. But on balance things move forward a heck of a lot faster than is typical elsewhere.
Having said that, unless you're well plugged in it's very easy to end up, as [deleted] says, as a donor rather than an owner.