Some additional highlights from BASF:
- They are moving into the West, primarily because the Chinese government has determined that the East has enough economic development.
- Talent acquisition (and retention) is a big issue for them. Multinationals used to have an attractive value proposition for employees (ability to move up, travel the world, etc.), but now so many Chinese companies are multinational that the competition for talent is much more intense. The trappings of hierarchy–like the size of your office, whether there’s a window, the number of people you manage, and your title–are really important to young workers. Our host told a funny story of being asked to change the title of a position from Junior Chemist to Assistant Chemist because no one wants to a be a junior anything in China.
- There’s so much opportunity in China that it’s easy for them to lose focus by chasing every good idea. Keeping a strategic focus is harder here!
- They see the following segments as key for their growth: construction, packaging, paint and coatings, pharmaceuticals, food and agriculture, mining, and automotive.
- They use the German concept of “Verbund” to bring production, technology, sales and customer service, and people management together in “smart integration.”
- They’re building a beautiful new Asian Innovation Campus on the site of their current production facility near the shipyards in Shanghai. This will bring all the scientists from various divisions together into one facility. They hope this will lead to more cross-pollination of ideas.