According to PwC's Global Economic Crime Survey 2020, 60% of China-based respondents said that they had experienced fraud or economic crime in the last two years. This is significantly higher than the global average of 47% and other countries in the region, such as Indonesia (50%), Malaysia (43%), the Philippines (42%), and Thailand (33%). The most common issues in China continue to include bribery & corruption, asset misappropriation and accounting fraud, with companies suffering from economic losses, operational disruption and reputation damage as a result of falling victim. Unfortunately, it is to be expected that any impending downturn in the Chinese and global economies could result in more frauds occurring and being exposed.
Fraud hits companies from all angles, but collusion is particularly common in China. The survey results indicate that 40% of the most disruptive frauds experienced by companies involved collusion between internal and external parties. A further 41% involved internal perpetrators acting alone.
Foreign companies are particularly at risk of being victims of fraud, especially if greater emphasis is placed on trust rather than effective controls. For instance, it is common for companies doing business in China to rely heavily on third parties (such as suppliers, dealers, agents, distributors and consultants). However, is there sufficient oversight and clarity into business partners? Other common issues in China include fictitious expense claims by employees and off-book income diverted for improper use.
In light of the challenges faced by foreign companies in the current environment, a forensic specialist from PwC will hold a webinar to share China highlights from PwC's recent Global Economic Crime Survey, and to discuss typical issues observed in recent times, as well as practical insights for navigating the risks.
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