China’s capital city of Beijing has eased restrictions on recruitment by foreign companies, in a move expected to benefit international procurement and supply chain jobs.

Overseas agencies can now own up to 70% of a joint venture registered in the city. Previously the maximum share was a minority stake of 49%. Foreign investors were formerly required to have a minimum of three years’ experience in the recruitment industry abroad before they were allowed to enter the Beijing market. This restriction has now been lifted.

“This is the most open policy in China’s headhunting market and will bring benefits to both foreign investors and Chinese companies that are short on senior talent,” said Chen Bei, speaking on behalf of Beijing’s Human Resources and Social Security Bureau.

Wei Ran, who is the director of Shanghai Procurement and Supply Chain at UK recruitment organisation Michael Page, said that China was now the firm’s second-largest market in terms of human resources. Describing China as a candidate-driven market with many opportunities, she said that the organisation was expanding its services to more local companies and was opening more offices in the face of increasing competition. The new rules would help in the organisation of personnel and in growing profit, Wei Ran said.

China first opened its recruitment market to foreign companies in 2000. Overseas recruitment organisations have partnered with Chinese companies in joint ventures since then in order to place talent into international supply chains. It is hoped that the new move will attract more global talent to Beijing.

Simon Lance, Hays Specialist Recruitment’s Managing Director for China, said it was a positive step that would drive innovation and boost competition. He said that the sharing of knowledge and expertise between Chinese and overseas companies would be of benefit to both parties, but added that it may take up to two years before a significant positive impact was observable.

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