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Anti-Corruption Compliance for Internet Companies

2018-12-05 13:25 Wednesday

Internet companies in China are especially prone to corrupt behavior, as evidenced by several prominent cases in recent weeks.

On November 12, sports channel Ifeng issued a notice to all employees, stating that three employees were suspected of embezzling the company property, accepting bribes and forging information to defraud the company. All three were suspended and are currently under investigation.

More than 10 editors at Youku, iQIYI, Sohu have been subject to criminal punishment for accepting bribes.

Following two decades of rapid development, corruption has gradually emerged in China's Internet sector. The influence of corruption has permeated every level, ranging from senior managers to media editors, and is now an industry-wide phenomenon.

anti-corruption compliance

In recent years, Internet companies have increasingly emphasized anti-corruption compliance.

Alibaba has established a clean administration & compliance department; Baidu has set up a professional ethics committee, and JD has initiated website named "clean JD" to regularly publicize internal anti-corruption developments. Furthermore, Tencent has enacted six codes of compliance behavior; less serious violations result in the responsible employees' firing, and more serious violations are handed over to the criminal justice system.

With the exception of the Internet giants listed above, most Internet companies report on corrupt behavior through open letters and internal emails, hoping to warn their employees of related consequences. But such anti-corruption measures are usually insufficient. The construction of a comprehensive compliance program and culture, with specific measures in place to handle corrupt behavior, is the only consistent method for cracking down on internal corruption.

At the industry level, the government and trade associations can take the lead in formulating common industry norms and professional ethics, which serve as guidelines for companies when drafting compliance measures.

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