Empirical insights into supervisory boards of listed companies in China

Julia Smith, Yuqi Tian

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This paper addresses a gap in the literature by presenting novel empirical insight, accorded by privileged access to prejudications and legal decisions, into corporate governance in China. A main aim of our work was to assess whether calls for reform of the regulatory system are warranted. We present an inductive piece of research into two-tier boards in Chinese listed companies, incorporating a board of directors and a supervisory board, appointed by and reporting to the shareholders’ meeting. Through unique primary-source evidence, and additional evidence from recent legal cases, we illustrate the problems faced by organizations that have had to contend with the inherent difficulties of corporate governance in China. Our findings suggest that the supervisory board, in practice, has limited power, given the conflicting roles of the various members, and that
corporate governance might be better maintained by a greater transfer of power to independent directors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-37
Number of pages19
JournalAsian Journal of Economics, Business and Accounting
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2020


  • China
  • two-tier structure
  • supervisory boards
  • listed companies
  • empirical evidence
  • corporate governance

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