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UPDATED: August 8, 2011 NO. 32 AUGUST 11, 2011
Seeking Universal Credit Ratings

Have the three main credit rating agencies ever played a positive role in the world economy?

Objectively, they have played a positive role. They have promoted the development of the credit rating industry and pushed for its globalization. Thanks to credit ratings, the global financial industry has developed to its current scale. The three agencies' innovations have contributed greatly to this development. But it is also in this process that the disadvantages of the current credit rating system they dominate have been fully exposed.

What are the differences between Dagong's credit rating criteria and those of Western agencies?

The fundamental difference is U.S. agencies' rating criteria are based on Western ideology, the U.S. national strategy and U.S. values, while Dagong has developed its methodology and criteria by analyzing underlying factors that may lead to credit risks.

In terms of sovereign credit rating criteria, Western companies emphasize Western political ideas, per-capita GDP, openness of a country's economy and financial markets and central bank independence. They tend to give the highest credit rating to countries issuing international reserve currencies. They also value the ability to borrow in order to pay old debts, while neglecting the role of fiscal revenues in guaranteeing a country's debt repayment capacity.

Dagong, however, emphasizes a country's economic governance rather than its political system. It believes a country's economic prospects are determined by its industrial structure, the size of its economy and economic competitiveness. It stresses a balanced relationship between a country's real economy and financial sector, while attaching importance to the control of financial risks. It values a country's fiscal revenues and foreign exchange reserves. For countries issuing international reserve currencies, Dagong looks at whether they are preserving the value of their currencies or viciously devaluing them.

How much does sovereign credit rating account for Dagong's whole business? What other services does Dagong provide?

Sovereign credit rating is our non-profit program. It accounts for one fifth of our whole business. Dagong's business includes credit rating for debt issuers. And we also do comprehensive financial strength ratings for financial institutions and listed companies.

How is Dagong's reputation holding up in other parts of the world?

As an emerging international credit rater, Dagong has been widely recognized by the international community. Given the fact that the current international credit rating system continues to provide unreliable information and has gradually lost people's trust, the world looks forward to the emergence of an institution that can provide objective and fair information.

At this moment, Dagong is taking the international stage and meeting international expectations. The international community thinks highly of us and has equally high expectations. On our part, we also have a strong sense of responsibility and mission.

What challenges does Dagong have to conquer in order to play a bigger role?

Today, China faces an opportunity to have a bigger say in the international credit rating system. For the world, it is time to reform the current flawed credit rating system and establish a new one. Dagong's role is crucial, as the realization of both aspirations needs a professional credit rating agency. This agency must meet two requirements. First, it must be independent. Second, it must be recognized by the international community. Dagong satisfies these requirements. But currently, it needs to boost its development to live up to expectations.

To achieve this leap, Dagong needs the support and recognition of the Chinese Government. For instance, the Chinese Government should recognize Dagong's sovereign credit rating reports. And it should use Dagong's credit rating information as much as possible in its foreign investment and international financial transactions.

China is the world's largest creditor. The Chinese Government's recognition of Dagong's credit rating information will greatly enhance our international influence and thus lay a solid foundation for us to increase market shares.

In addition, the environment for our development needs to be improved. The current Chinese credit rating system is modeled on that of the United States. The U.S. credit rating system has led to the collapse of its financial sector, and this system could have the same effect on China.

In this environment, it is difficult for Dagong to achieve sound growth, while sticking to our concepts and criteria. Facing increasingly fierce competition, our market shares may shrink, revenues may decline, and team members may leave. Also, our new ideas, theories and methods in credit rating have yet to be made popular.

As you mentioned, Dagong is not backed up by the Chinese Government. But some Western media doubt Dagong's independence. What is your view of this?

Dagong is a privately owned enterprise without any government involvement. Our stakeholders are not engaged in capital markets. Our management team is not engaged in stock or bond markets, either.

This has fully guaranteed our independence. In addition, our sovereign credit rating is a non-profit program. The Chinese Government does not pay our bills. Some foreign media do not know the truth, so it's natural they have these false notions. I think they will eventually acknowledge our independence.

Our ultimate goal is to build a world-renowned international credit rating agency. To reach this goal, we must operate without government interference.

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