Bribery in business: Your views

Companies from Russia and China are most likely to pay bribes when doing business abroad, a survey suggests.

The two countries scored worst out of 28 in a poll of business executives conducted by anti-corruption group, Transparency International (TI).

BBC News website readers in China, Russia and other countries mentioned in the survey share their views on the report and their experiences of how business is done where they live.

Reaction from China

Rupert, in Shanghai, says: Bribery is one of the common ways business is done in China and the vast majority of companies pay scant regard to anti-bribery legislation when struggling to survive in a competitive and robust business environment.

China's increasing global presence and business arrangements with developing countries rich in natural resources, yet led by despot leaders, is a common trend that could threaten ethical and fair business practices.

Having said that - is the building of a free road in Africa by engineers from a sponsored Chinese state-owned company bribery or astute and innovative business practice? How and who will prove that such a seemingly humanitarian project has any link to securing a mining concession, or favourable trading arrangements, or turning a blind eye to unsafe practices?

As always, the answer can be found by following the money and adhering to law. But that's easier said than done.

Qin, in Xi'an, emails: Corruption and bribe-paying happens not only in the commercial field but in almost all parts of social life here. It's becoming more and more prevalent and is becoming a serious problem.

If this is ignored and continues to develop here in China I think our public moral value, integrity and faith which is the corner stone of any society will be thoroughly destroyed.

Elliott, in Shanghai, says: Sounds about right. It causes difficulties in many areas of the public sector in China. These issues are generally reflected in a drop in quality as well as loss of tax revenues.

David, in Guangzhou city, emails: I am not surprised at the findings at all. I would say bribery is the way of life here in China. Everyone is involved in it some way or another.

Of course the law can put people in difficult positions when it comes to employment or sickness, and bribery is usually the only way out. If you want something doing you have to pay for it - it's as simple as that when it comes to China.

Joyce, in Guangdong, writes: I moved to China two years ago and it's much worse and more common among small business owners to bribe people to get their business done. Last year I planned on having my own shop but of course I knew I would have to pay people money just to get my business licence or else I'd have to wait forever for one to be approved officially.

Comments from Russia

Nargiz, in Kazan, Russia, says: It is not surprising to me at all.

If you want your child to attend a kindergarten or go to a good school or enter any university, a Russian person has no other way but to bribe.

Three years ago I was operated on and my parents had to bribe the doctor to make sure the doctor would do everything properly without any support from inexperienced students from medical university.

It was not their wish but they were told the system works that way.

Michael, from Canada, emails: I lived for five years in Russia and never witnessed corruption.

I am sure I'm not the only one so I seriously question the rationale and legitimacy of TI and how they judge corruption.

I see this report as an instrument for western countries to pat themselves on the back when corruption is equally as rife there, and sometimes even worst in the west.

The hypocrisy is unashamedly blatant. I understand the collective corruption in UK business is larger than British Columbia's yearly exports.

The UK and the US lecture Russia on corruption? What! This report is nothing other than claptrap and I will be ignoring its findings.

Global reaction

Peter, in London, UK, writes: When doing business in the Middle East I was very aware of the accepted bribe culture.

In the UAE, Qatar and Oman it is openly discussed. Giving cash to get basic things achieved, such as getting a licence to trade or visas, is common place. If you don't play the game then you'll go to the back of the queue.

Paying £1,000 to someone in the ministry and getting the job done in 24 hours, or waiting eight weeks - there's really little choice.

The UK is very different. I'm sure it does happen, but gifts of expensive goods or cash I have not seen much.

However, we do tend to give lots of corporate hospitality, but usually after an order, or as a thank you for longevity of relationship. The golf weekend in Portugal, for example, seems to be acceptable, rightly or wrongly.

The Bribery and Corruption Act is discussed a lot, but I'm hearing more ways to get around it, than how to adhere to it.

Surinder, in Mumbai, India, says: I am surprised at the result, that India was seventh worst, or 19th best - however you look at it. I thought we Indians were the most corrupt!

James, in Southern Africa, emails: It's not so surprising where the principal BRIC nations are on the corruption scale! What is really troubling is that in these countries it becomes apparent that only lip service is paid to the rule-of-law.

Africa as a whole is in conflict with agreements signed pertaining to the International Criminal Court and one wonders when this attitude will trickle down to the rules guiding our daily interactions.

More on this story