India has most transparent companies, China the most opaque: Survey

India has the most transparent companies while Chinese firms are the most opaque, according to a global watchdog's survey released yesterday that assessed the efforts of companies in emerging markets to fight corruption.

According to Transparency International, 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 including Brazil, Mexico and Russia. The overall score has dipped since the last Transparency In Corporate Reporting survey in 2013, marginally down to 3.4 out of 10, with three quarters of companies scoring less than half.

According to the Berlin-based watchdog, the failure of a vast majority of companies surveyed to operate transparently risked creating an environment for corruption to thrive both in their businesses and the countries where they operated.

The weak scores were a big concern for global corruption fighting efforts, according to Susan Cote-Freeman, Transparency's head of business integrity.

"All these companies including the Chinese ones are expanding in other geographies and they really have to raise the bar on their anti-corruption and disclosure practices if we're going to have a level playing field and if we're going to really tackle this problem of corruption," Cote-Freeman said, Associated Press reported.

"Pathetic levels of transparency in big emerging-market companies raises the question of just how much the private sector cares about stopping corruption, stopping poverty where they do business and reducing inequality," Josť Ugaz, chair of Transparency International said in a statement.

According to the study, Chinese companies fared worst, with an average score of 1.6 out of 10 in the tests, due to having weak or non-existent anti-corruption  policies and procedures.

As against this, India led the way, with all 19 of its companies in the study, achieving a score of 75 per cent or more in being open about their company structures and holdings, which was due to India's Companies' Act.