Your China Team Defined
One of the first questions you will need to answer is how big is your China team. We suggest that you consider the people in China and their support staff at the home office members of the China team. Both sides need to be on the same team with the same understanding of your project and the situation on the ground in China.
Corporations that view their China team as only the people in China risk creating conflict that impacts negotiation, sales and marketing on the ground in China. Ideally, the entire c-suite is aware of the differences in business environment, operations and culture. Things are simply done differently and setting goals with western expectations will inevitably harm productivity of your China venture.
Selecting Good Candidates
Selecting the right people for your China team is a difficult process. Corporations typically pick executives who have been successful in other areas, which is a smart move. However, corporations need to look at why the executive was successful and managed that success. Just because an executive can lead and operate a business with great success in the United States, does not mean that the same executive will succeed in China.
Working in China requires a lot of adjustment and candidates who are flexible have a better chance of success. Executives that focus on building and maintaining relationships rather than transactions will do better for obvious reasons. Furthermore, people who are able to approach relationships from a step-down perspective have a better chance of building strong relationships in China. Ideal candidates will have lived abroad before, already speak basic Chinese and have a good understanding of Chinese business culture.
On the head quarters side of the team, you need people who are willing to learn about Chinese business protocol and the business culture. They should understand how relationships are formed and how this impacts business in China. Finally, they should have a basic understanding of how sales and marketing are different in China. This will help the team be productive.