China Economic Information Service (CEIS / 中国经济信息社), an economic-reporting subsidiary of Chinese state media arm Xinhua, has launched an English-language version of its Xinhua Credit corporate credit reporting portal. Reports by Xinhua Credit incorporate social credit information on both Chinese- and foreign-owned corporations. According to the press release:
Xinhua Credit provides users with information of more than 200 million enterprises in more than 230 countries and regions, including more than 62 million domestic enterprises, and general credit information at home and abroad.
Xinhua Credit isn’t a newcomer to the industry: the platform has been providing credit reports on Chinese businesses for at least a couple of years, but the launch opens one of the first channels through which non-Chinese-speakers can gain partial access to corporate social credit data.
The English version was announced at this week’s Forum for Credit System Construction of Chinese Cities, the annual credit conference organized by the National Development and Reform Commission, the state agency responsible for the build-out of China’s social credit system.
CEIS, the entity behind Xinhua Credit, is a bit of an odd duck. The organization is part enterprise data service, part public-sector data provider, and part think tank. It runs four state-level information service platforms, some of which serve data to Xinhua News to back reporting, some of which sell financial data to private subscribers. Driving forward the development of China’s social credit system is among the group’s stated goals.
The Xinhua Credit platform is using the central government’s social credit data to issue three types of proprietary corporate credit scores:
- Letter-based credit grades (A-E)
- Numerical credit scores
- Letter-based solvency grades (R1-R15)
While Chinese policymakers have stated that third-party scores will be taken into account when deciding how companies are treated under differential supervision, how much importance regulators will end up placing on these scores – and similar corporate scores issued by other third-parties – remains to be seen. What we can say is that Xinhua Credit’s scoring systems are likely to be one of many; by mid-2019, over 130 private companies had been granted licenses to issue credit reports on enterprises.