Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


Alice de Jonge


This paper uses a comparative method to analyze China’s evolving Social Credit System (SCS) for corporations, and the political discourse used to portray SCS as a governance tool facilitating Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) with Chinese characteristics. A modified relational governance framework is used. The importance of relationships (guanxi) in the Chinese business context is that it makes a modified form of the relational governance perspective uniquely appropriate. This study also draws upon evolving literature examining the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in international business contexts.

China’s corporate SCS is explicitly designed to evaluate corporate behavior through a “scoring” system of “points.” A comparative lens highlights the similarities, and crucial differences, between this and recent efforts to develop concepts of non-financial capital giving value to “social capital” in business contexts.

This paper makes a unique contribution to the comparative governance literature by providing unique comparative insights into China’s corporate SCS, and by setting these insights in the context of a world increasingly dominated by two competing models of AI-driven organizational governance - one controlled by western technology giants and driven by primarily commercial motives—the other shaped and driven by the politics of China’s Party-state institutions.