We are used to thinking of a company as a single entity. This may be true for small businesses, but in today's global economy, a large corporation usually exists as large network of interconnected companies spread around the world.
Control of one company by another is usually exercised by share ownership: this page shows that Goldman Sachs New Zealand Holdings Limited owns 100% of the shares of Goldman Sachs New Zealand Management Limited.
Sometimes these corporate networks are very big. For example, we currently know of over 3,000 companies in the Goldman Sachs network. There are certainly many more companies than this which we don't know about.
Although it is possible to buy corporate network data from specialists, very little of this information is available as Open Data. Thanks to a grant by Alfred P Sloan Foundation, we are beginning to build a completely free and open database of network information. This part of our database is very small at the moment, but it will be growing very quickly over the next year.
At the moment, our network data is limited to three different sources.:
The best quality data is that held by individual corporate registries around the world. We believe that it is in society's interests for shareholding data to be available as open data, everywhere. That's why we are working with the World Bank Institute to monitor the transparency of corporate registries around the world.
We do not claim our data is free from errors: sometimes a company makes a mistake in its filing, and sometimes our automatic data importers have bugs. However, what makes us unique is that we aim to show a full provenance for every piece of data on which we base our inferences about corporate networks. For example, here is a list of all the sources for all the data we have about one company in the Goldman Sachs corporate network.
Our corporate network research is still at a very early phase. Over the next few months, we intend to:
If so, get in touch. We are looking for partners to help explore this new, exciting, and vitally important set of open data.