China Businesses Are the World's Most Stressed

Grant Thornton
2007-05-28 17:58 1014

HONG KONG, May 29 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- According to the latest findings from the Experian(R) Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) 2007, mainland China businesses are the most stressed in the world. More than eight out of ten (84%) mainland China businesses are more stressed than a year ago. Mainland China is followed by Taiwan (82%). Among the three territories in the country, Hong Kong (67%) is the seventh in the global rankings (see table 1).

Among the 32 countries/regions who took part in the survey, two thirds reported a lower increase in stress when comparing with last year's figure. When comparing the results of this question this year and last year, the stress level in mainland China has reduced by 3 percentage points, while Hong Kong and Taiwan have reduced by 2 points and 7 points respectively.

"Although the percentages of stress level increases in the three places across two shores have reduced, they are still in the top ten among the 32 surveyed, and well beyond the global average (56%). This appears to be a reflection of the pace of growth in these economies," said Desmond Yuen, partner and head of China Services at Grant Thornton.

In comparison, businesses in Europe are the least stressed, with just 27% of Swedish businesses reporting an increase in stress levels, followed by Ireland (35%) and the UK, the Netherlands and France (37%).

Average Working hours in a week

The survey also studied business owners' average hours worked in a week. It shows that mainland China and Hong Kong business owners both work 54 hours on average a week, followed by Taiwan with 53 hours a week (see table 2). Businesses in the BRIC emerging markets tend to work the longest hours, with India at the top of the league table (57 hours). The findings revealed that the businesses in emerging markets are striving to take advantage of domestic and global economic expansion and thus, they are willing to work longer hours in order to keep their competitiveness.

"Globalisation and increasing technological advances have increased the pressure on business owners to 'always be contactable' and this appears to be having an increasing strain on their lives. The challenge for business owners is how they can improve modern working practices to allow time to 'switch off' from the strains of increasingly demanding business lives - while remaining competitive. However, business owners should understand that the management of work life balance and quality of life is very important too," said Dr. William Thomson, Experian's global economics director.

Table 1.

Stress levels compared to one year ago (% Increased)

2007 2006

1 Mainland China 84 87

2 Taiwan 82 89

3 India 79 57

4 Russia 76 60

5 Botswana 70 74

6 Singapore 69 67

7 Hong Kong 67 69

8 Malaysia 64 65

8 Philippines 64 76

8 South Africa 64 65

11 Brazil 62 --

11 Turkey 62 58

13 Luxembourg 58 49

14 Armenia 57 --

14 Thailand 57 62

16 Greece 55 63

17 Germany 51 50

18 Japan 50 60

19 Mexico 48 58

20 Argentina 47 48

20 Italy 47 40

22 New Zealand 46 46

23 US 43 45

24 Australia 41 48

24 Spain 41 42

26 Poland 40 46

27 Canada 39 48

28 France 37 42

28 Netherlands 37 43

28 UK 37 43

31 Ireland 35 46

32 Sweden 27 24

Global average 56 57

Table 2. Average hours worked in a week

1 India 57

1 Argentina 57

3 Armenia 56

3 Australia 56

3 Botswana 56

6 Turkey 55

6 US 55

6 South Africa 55

9 Singapore 54

9 Hong Kong 54

9 Mainland China 54

12 Taiwan 53

12 New Zealand 53

14 Poland 52

14 Canada 52

14 Greece 52

14 Germany 52

18 Mexico 51

19 Malaysia 50

19 Brazil 50

19 Japan 50

19 Luxemburg 50

19 France 50

24 Philippines 49

24 UK 49

24 Russia 49

27 Spain 48

27 Ireland 48

27 Netherlands 48

27 Thailand 48

27 Sweden 48

32 Italy 47

Global average 53

Source: Experian Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) 2007

Notes to editors

About the Experian Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR)

Now in its fifth year, the Experian Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) was carried out among 7,200 owners of medium to large privately held businesses from 32 countries/territories during late 2006. Among them, 300, 250 and 150 medium to large privately held businesses were surveyed in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan respectively. IBR began in 2002 and builds on the European Business Survey (EBS) which Grant Thornton ran from 1993 to 2001. In 2007, the survey's name was changed from the International Business Owners Survey (IBOS) to the International Business Report (IBR). The research was conducted by Experian Business Strategies Limited and Harris Interactive. For more information, please visit .

About Grant Thornton

Grant Thornton is one of the leading accounting, tax and business advisory firms dedicated to serving the needs of growing companies. In Hong Kong and mainland China, Grant Thornton has offices in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, employing in excess of 650 people. Grant Thornton in Hong Kong is a member of Grant Thornton International - one of the world's leading organisations of independently owned and managed accounting and consulting firms providing assurance, tax and specialist advice to independent businesses and their owners. Firms operate in 110 countries in 520 offices with more than 22,600 employees. For more information, please visit .

About Experian

Experian provides an unrivalled understanding of consumers, markets and economies in the UK and around the world, past, present and future. Experian is a global leader in providing analytical and information services to organisations and consumers to help manage the risk and reward of commercial and financial decisions. It is also a market leader in consumer profiling and market segmentation, economic forecasting and public policy research, supporting businesses, policy makers and investors in making tactical and strategic decisions. Experian's economic forecasting arm, Business Strategies, has operations in 16 countries: UK, France, Netherlands, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Hong Kong - China, Germany, Czech Republic, Ireland, Greece, USA, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. For more information about Experian go to

For further information, please contact:

Grant Thornton

Desmond Yuen (Partner and head of China services)

Tel: +852-2218-3113

Fax: +852-2218-3613


Estella Tsui (Senior marketing manager)

Tel: +852-2218-3207

Fax: +852-2218-3707



Dr William Thomson (Global economic director)

Tel: +44-207-355-8292


Bruno Rost (International PR manager)

Tel: +44-115-968-5009


Source: Grant Thornton