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China Entrepreneur: Voices of Experience from 40 International Business Pioneers by Laurie Underwood, Juan Antonio Fernandez

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Chapter 5

Human Resource Challenges

“As a small company, you are really at a disadvantage because many capable young Chinese want to go to a brand-name company that gives them face with family, friends, and professors.”

Jeffrey Bernstein (USA), Founder and Managing Director, Emerge Logistics Shanghai

“If you can manage human resources in China, you can manage China. I think it’s the key factor.”

Prakash Menon (India), President, NIIT (China)

INSIDE CHAPTER 5
Strengths and Weaknesses of Chinese Employees
Bridging the Skills Gap: Training, Training, Training
Recruitment and Retention Challenges
HR Strategies: Selling “Small is Beautiful”
Solving the Salary Question
Conclusion

Introduction

After they had got their China-based enterprise up and running—having found the startup funding, secured government approvals, and identified the right market for their product or service—our China-based international entrepreneurs found their single-most difficult challenge was finding, training, and keeping qualified and capable employees. While this goal is likely a top-priority one for entrepreneurs operating worldwide, in China, it can be a truly make-or-break factor as the market presents several unique challenges.

The first of these challenges, according to our China entrepreneurs, is the cultural gap between a non-Chinese business owner and his or her Chinese employees. This gap affected nearly all our interviewees, who hailed from 25 different nations; however, those from the West, East ...

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