Improving Foreign Staff in China

Today most companies recognize the importance of having supply chains that extend into low cost countries, whether it be China, Vietnam, Mexico, or other countries. To manage these supplier networks, companies of all sizes are now maturing to the point of having their own teams in-market to increase oversight and assist with daily functions from product development to quality control oversight.

Unfortunately, with the rapid increase in the number of companies with foreign staffs in Asia in particular, many smaller players are now facing rising management costs, delayed decision making, and increasingly complex organizational structures. To combat this trend consider the following strategies to improve performance throughout your foreign staff in Asia:

skills and culture


View skills in a cultural context. Candidates that are bilingual and have worked for a Fortune 500 company in China are not rare. (The Battle for China’s Talent HBR)When evaluating who to hire, consider soft skills as much if not more than technical certifications.


Clearly define foreign staff’s role in your larger organization. Form and function are inseparable. Is your foreign staff for sourcing, quality control, or R&D? Does this team make decisions autonomously or do they need authorization from US counter-parties? Questions like these help determine how your foreign staff can best function on a day-to-day basis.

dollar sign

Scrutinize your foreign expenses. One of the greatest challenges U.S. companies face in Asia are rising expenses. Resist the temptation to expand your staff too quickly, or to establish a joint-venture without exploring other less capital intensive options such as contract manufacturing.

To learn more about these tips and other ways you can improve the performance of your Asian staff, visit ABC University or watch any of our 30 min educational webinars.

Related Content:

Webinar: Improving foreign staff performance in Mainland China