China, a place of opportunity

5 May

A Financial Times editor visits Shanghai after 15 years and finds it full of opportunity. A good sign, I believe, despite the city’s recent health issues.

China has over a billion people but finding the right people to head the country office is difficult for some multinationals. Over time, it’l improve. For now, foreigners and sometimes Taiwanese are often used to head up Chinese operations such as in advertising agencies or auction firms, as they’re supposedly more Westernised and knowledgeable about international practices. The problem runs both ways since multinationals need to be able to find, trust and invest time and effort on talented mainland staff, which some are now starting to do.

Taiwan’s lagging economy means that China is still a big draw, enough to cause a brain drain. It makes sense, if you’re Taiwanese and young, driven, ambitious, and want a challenge, then the mainland is very attractive. For all the political drama and personal animosity (mostly from Taiwanese), Taiwan is very linked to the mainland and these relationships aren’t decreasing anytime soon.

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