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China – Expat does not equal expert

12 July 2013

Chinese businesses have been cautioned about headhunting international talent. The number of foreign workers entering China has increased in the past three decades, reaching more than 520,000 in 2011. However, businesses have been warned that ‘expat does not equal expert’, reports China Daily.

The remarks were made at a seminar in Beijing this week, celebrating the 30th anniversary of a famous speech by late communist leader Deng Xiaoping. In 1983, the French educated Deng stressed the importance of opening China to foreign recruitment in order to modernise. Deng instituted a variety of economic reforms aimed at decentralising China’s economy and opening the country to international trade. 

William Gaspard, design director of China Daily, spoke at the symposium, “Continue to seek out foreign expertise but be discerning about your choices.”

Alistair Michie, an adviser to a number of Chinese government bodies said, “Should Deng Xiaoping be [speaking] today I think he would strongly support us looking forward to the next 30 year.”

China’s new leadership has set a very ambitious target of doubling per capita income in China between 2010 and 2020. Mr Michie believes that the goal requires China to move rapidly up the economic chain.

“The State Administration for Foreign Expert Affairs can help make sure that it is easy for foreign experts tocome and live and work in China. The laws on visas, tax, permits, and family support must be as firnedly as possible,” added Mr Michie.

Mr Gaspard agrees, “To get the best people, you may have to rethink not only compensation issues, but offering people a softer landing into the country. If you don’t want to eliminate a hige pool of important people you need to consider what you can do for families [including] healthcare, education, and housing, because I can assure you, the top people don’t make moves without first considering their family.”

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