By Paul Chung
Image credit: @yushimoto_02.
In a land of over 1.3 billion people, you’re bound to find millions of talented business students and leaders. But how many in this crop can actually rise to the challenge of being a top-caliber Chinese executive?
According to Andrew Hill of the Financial Times, the number of competent, global-minded local Chinese executives is surprisingly low. Think low thousands.
What are some of the desirable qualifications of the perfect candidate? Mandarin Chinese and English fluency, familiarity with business in China, and knowledge of consumer habits and global trends, just to name a few.
As China thrusts into the global business world, local and foreign companies are discovering the hard way that international business education is totally lacking in the Chinese business world.
To compensate for the supply-demand rift, foreign subsidiaries and local enterprises are constantly seeking expats to close the talent and knowledge gap, but relocating employees to overseas offices can be very expensive.
China is set to surpass the United States as the world’s number one business travel destination by 2015, but that’s totally meaningless if executive-level talent continues to be imported from Europe, the United States, Hong Kong, or Taiwan.
As one resigned Fudan University School of Management professor so concisely and bluntly put it, “We lack the international talent to manage these companies.”