Wall Street Journal Covers Asia’s Endangered Species, The Expat

Last week, the Wall Street Journal did a great article on the decreasing role of expatriates being used to fill overseas positions in Asia. The article reminded me of a past posting of mine, The Real Deal on Working in China: Wang & Li’s “Opportunities in China”. I thought this framing was particularly insightful and interesting:

To help companies fill Asia-based executive roles, at least two search firms—Spencer Stuart and Korn/Ferry International—say they have begun classifying executives in four broad categories:

  • Asia natives steeped in local culture but educated in the U.S. or Europe;
  • the foreigner who has lived or worked in Asia for a long time;
  • a person of Asian descent who was born or raised in a Western country but has had little exposure to Asia;
  • and the local Asian executive who has no Western experience.

The person of Asian descent who was born or raised in a Western country but has had little exposure to Asia probably describes me the best. My Mandarin is barely good enough to get by in casual conversations. I’m sure if I lived in China or Taiwan, I’m sure my Mandarin would get a whole lot better. But there is also a lot more competition these days if I wanted to find a job in Asia. There are more and more local talent in Asia studying abroad and returning back to Asia. Definitely do your research if you’re thinking of trying to find a job in Asia.



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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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