Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide insights into recent financial analysis practice in the Chinese context. The paper aims to examine the approaches pursued and information used by Chinese financial analysts in investment appraisal of ordinary shares. The research seeks to explore influences upon analysts' decision making and how analysts perceived the Chinese investment environment. Design/methodology/approach – A questionnaire based survey approach was used, conducted in 2003 with 65 Chinese financial analysts. Findings – The findings indicate that fundamental analysis was the predominant technique adopted in appraising equities in line with the development of institutional investors and improved market efficiency. Regarding information used to analyse companies, annual reports constituted the most influential source. The Chinese analysts favoured usage of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) and International Accounting Standards (IASs) by A-share companies. The findings indicate changes within the financial analyst community, suggesting pressure for higher quality analysis and increased use of more sophisticated techniques despite ongoing market shortcomings. Opinions vary as to how important financial analysis is in influencing stock valuation or, crucially, socio-economic welfare. However, studies putting the analysts' role in perspective vis-à-vis other forces contribute to broadening understanding of this significantly under researched area. This current study contributes to filling this gap. Originality/value – This paper provides insights into how specific country contexts influence financial analysts' investment appraisal practice in interims of incentives, information sources and techniques adopted.