|Abstract as per original application
The aim of this project is to explore empirically the important question: what is the role and workings of corporate charters in mainland Chinese listed firms.
The corporate charter, also known as a company’s constitution or articles of association, is the company’s most fundamental document. The charter regulates how a company is organised and managed. Importantly, it contains provisions on the rights and powers of shareholders in the governance of the company. Although the comparative literature on corporate charters and charter amendments is rapidly expanding, the role and workings of Chinese corporate charters remain largely under-studied and under-theorised. The proposed project attempts to fill this important gap, and in doing so to significantly enhance our understanding of corporate governance both in mainland China and more generally.
The project will investigate both the initial charters of Chinese listed companies at the time of their public listings (“IPOs") and any subsequent, “midstream” amendments to those charters. It draws on two unique, hand-collected datasets on IPO charters and charter amendments, as well as qualitative data on the behavioural strategies of companies’ incorporators, controllers, managers and outside shareholders in respect of the charters to be obtained with the support of a network of collaborating PRC securities regulators. The project will present new insights into, among other things, the patterns of firm-level variations in corporate charters (in particular, substantive deviations from China’s semi-mandatory model charter in the case of IPO charters, and customized or innovative provisions in the case of midstream charter amendments); the determinants of the observed variations; and the impact of those variations on Chinese listed firms.
It is anticipated that the systematic and empirical analyses of company constitutions in China, which this project offers, will inform and help to generate a more empirically-based theory, thereby advancing our understanding of the role that corporate charters play in the protection of minority shareholders and the development of national securities markets, with particular reference to China but also more generally. The importance of such an understanding is enhanced by the fact that major China-based corporations are now becoming significant global players.
公司章程（corporate charter）也被稱為公司的內部憲章（company’s constitution），其為公司最基礎的文件。章程規範公司的組織和治理。尤為重要的是，其規定了股東在公司治理中的權利。對於公司章程和章程修訂的比較法研究正方興未艾，但是中國上市公司章程的作用和運作問題，依然缺乏系統研究和理論化。本課題旨在填補這個研究空缺，以期加深對中國大陸公司治理的研究。