THE need to raise mainland accounting standards and improve understanding of Chinese practices overseas has prompted Price Waterhouse to spend $400,000 to support an academic exchange programme between China, Hong Kong and Britain. The three-year 'Accountancy Link' was organised by the British Council for Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the University of Warwick and the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. It will fund joint research projects, new courses and faculty exchanges. Anthony Steele, a professor of accounting at the Warwick Business School, said yesterday: 'As China becomes more economically active, our graduates are going to need a profound understanding of what is happening here.' Hong Kong Polytechnic and the Shanghai University are organising a 'Doing Business in Hong Kong and China' course for executive MBA students from Warwick. Hong Kong Polytechnic is launching a course, The Business Environment in China, for third-year accounting students. A Shanghai University of Finance and Economics professor is visiting Warwick for one year to study the roles of bankruptcy in an economy - a key issue for China, where at least one-third of state enterprises run at a loss. Shanghai University president Tang Yunwei said: 'Workers in very poor conditions in China are urging their companies to go bankrupt. Then they can be absorbed into good companies. 'We need to understand international principles and procedures of bankruptcy, but we have to keep in mind the unique characteristics of China.' Professors at the universities will research company management accounting practices, financial disclosure in China and enterprise reform.