An Asian credit ratings company has been formed to cast a fresh eye on the financial stability of companies and countries doing business in a global economy. The Universal Credit Rating Group was recently launched in cooperation with China's Dagong Global Credit Rating Company, United States-based Egan Jones Rating Company and RusRating of Russia. The new firm will be headquartered in Hong Kong. According to China Business Weekly, Universal will give "an alternative viewpoint" on how companies and governments will be rated in international markets, with a focus on the Asian business community. As a result, the growing importance of trade with Asian countries could impact many U.S. businesses that are trying to gain a stronghold in new markets. Egan-Jones, the American partner working with the new ratings agency, evaluates the debt levels of businesses, governments and asset-based securities. Egan-Jones has a different business model from other U.S. agencies, including Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's, because it is paid by investors rather than national investment banks. Its recent ratings have been of many American companies that are household names – WalMart, Dell, JC Penney, Foot Locker, Gap and J.M. Smucker Company.