Saturday, March 24, 2007

Who's Best Managed in China today? Tomorrow?

Irv Beiman, of eGate Consulting, a fellow columnist of mine on the Sunday Column effort at has a really provocative new column on that site, at the moment. Irv, who has been living and working in China since 1993, argues that "From 1993-1997, there is no doubt that JVs and WFOEs were the best managed companies in China. Ten years later, I am beginning to see a dramatic shift. There has been truly enormous unexpected improvement in effectiveness among the better managed Chinese organizations." He goes on to say: "What will happen to FIEs in China? As they experience erosion of market share in their top tier segments, and they continue to perform poorly with the middle tier where the volume is, they will come to this 21st century organizational dance a bit late." I find this interesting to consider. You normally don't hear people touting Chinese woces [Wholly Owned Chinese Enterprises] as being "best managed," particularly an expereinced expatriate such as Irv. Peter Drucker, however, some years ago, suggested that the next big management breakthrough would come out of China.... perhaps this is the beginning? One thing that I don't agree with Irv on is the role of expatriates in fies [foreign invested enterprises] in China. I'm a big fan of more, rather than fewer, expatriates in building global firms. I know that they're expensive, and appreciate that they can constrict career paths for locals, but I view them as essential for building a truly global corporate culture.

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