Internet connection: Corporate website index released

Corporate websites provide a window to examine business practices, but their quality is still a mixed bag in Myanmar, according to a report by the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB).

KBZ Bank and Max Myanmar came out on top of a rankings list that looks at the amount of information firms provide in key areas like anti-corruption, respect for human rights, and general organisational transparency, according to the July 22 report.

MCRB head Vicky Bowman said the survey purely looked how well the companies in question provided public information and was not meant to measure actual progress of their business practices.

“This report looks at what a company publishes about what it says it does. It’s no guarantee they do it, but it’s a first step,” she said.

Beyond encouraging businesses to be more transparent, Ms Bowman said the report’s research holds telling insights into local business culture.

Many large companies with “significant” links to foreign partners still have no websites whatsoever, while others publish public information with a speed that surprised the researchers, she said.

“In a way, both of these are a reflection of the fact that Myanmar companies are family-owned,” she said. “On the one hand they can take decisions fast without being slowed down by corporate lawyers and layers of bureaucracy. On the other hand, some family businesses don’t seem to see themselves as having any external stakeholders.”

Of the 20 large companies ranked, KBZ Bank and Max Myanmar Company were at the top of list, while Loi Hein manufacturing and M&GH tobacco were nearly tied for last place in the rankings.

KBZ welcomed its inclusion on the list in a follow-up statement.

“As a family run business, we have always worked to our own high ethical and moral standards with a strong focus on [corporate social responsibility],” the statement said.

MCRB said website content was judged according to a slightly modified version of model used by the INGO Transparency International to judge websites in the developed world. It plans to conduct the surveys on an annual basis.


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