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China To Be Key Place For Business Expansion

China is set to become the key destination for international business expansion in the next five years, according to research.

The research by AXA, conducted among 250 firms in eight countries and 372 globally-mobile workers reveals that while western economies dominate the list of countries that employers say they most commonly send staff to work in today, the balance of power between nations is changing.

Today, the USA and China, followed by Germany, the UK and France are the most popular destinations for firms to send staff to work on long-term contracts.

However, looking ahead to the next five years, China is set to become the key destination for new international expansion with the USA at number two, and France, Russia and Japan in joint third place and Germany in fourth place. The UK is in joint seventh place for new international expansion with South Korea.

More than a third of HR and global mobility managers questioned said they are looking to recruit more local teams in-country as well.

Tom Wilkinson, CEO of AXA’s global healthcare team said: “Internationally-mobile workers are critical for organisations looking to trade globally, and in today’s economy that means many businesses.

“However, the countries that organisations prioritise as a focus for investment and for sending people to work in naturally shifts to take account of changing global economic and political opportunities and China is a big focus for the businesses we surveyed.

“One thing remains constant and that is the importance of human talent in helping firms establish and build operations globally. Looking after their staff and ensuring that they get appropriate support and benefits packages to allow them to work internationally is key – yet our study reveals that some employers need to work harder on this is if they are to deliver for their staff.”

The survey revealed that one-in-ten staff on international assignment say they receive no help at all from their employer, rising to almost a quarter of those employed by UK firms and 32% of those employed by organisations based in Switzerland.

Almost half of staff on international assignments said they get help with visa and immigration requirements, more than a third receive help in finding a new home and 35% get contractual/ HR support from their company.

Just 27% of staff on international assignment said they received language or cultural training before being sent to work internationally and only around a fifth said their employer provided a global mobility representative to help them.