China’s Corporate Web Sites Getting Better

Effective corporate web sites are fewer and further between than you might expect. Bowen Craggs, a communications consultancy that bills itself as “website effectiveness experts” draws up a ranking of those from 75 of the world’s biggest public companies by market capitalization.

Six Chinese sites make its second annual list, thanks to a raft of bank IPOs last year, against one last year. Highest ranked is Industrial & Commercial Bank of China at no. 48 with a score of 147 out of a maximum possible 280. (The no. 1 overall site, Siemens, scored 221). China Construction Bank is no. 56 with a score of 140, then Bank of China at no. 63 with 126, China Life Insurance at no. 72, with 105, Sinopec at no. 73 with 98 and, at no. 74, with 94, China Mobile, the only Chinese company on last year’s list when it was last with its site described thus: “The look is plain, the layout clumsy and the English flat.”

So things must be on the up.

In a commentary last year, senior consultant David Bowen wrote:

“The web is not a plausible domestic mass communication channel [for Chinese companies]. But it is a route to the middle classes (12.3% of the country online does mean 162 million people) and to external audiences, especially investors.”

He also notes:

“I could, of course, have made the same criticism of most continental European companies a few years ago, which is a clue for the future. They have caught up, overtaken, and moved to the top of our Index. Will the Chinese do the same?”

The other unanswered question: are better corporate web sites leading indicators of emerging global brands?

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