By Ames Gross, President and Founder of Pacific Bridge Medical
This blog post was also published on MedTech Intelligence.
Every business in any part of the world wants to hire the most qualified executives for their company. The same applies in Asia. However, companies that wish to recruit excellent Asian executives need to not only review resumes and interview candidates, but do double the due diligence than is customary for hiring a Western executive. Selecting the right Asian executive can be even more difficult because of the differences in language, culture, background, among other factors.
If you are a small to mid-sized medical device company, and you have recently built or are in the process of building a distributor network in Asia, please keep the following points in mind.
Hiring Medical Executives in Japan
Typically, companies split Asia into at least two market segments, one consisting of Japan and the other Asian countries excluding Japan. If you are hiring a key executive for your office in Japan, the person should be Japanese, fluent in Japanese, and able to speak some English. Even if the candidate is not completely fluent in English, it is usually not an issue as long as you are able to develop a close, trusting relationship with him or her.
Hiring Medical Executives Outside of Japan
If you need to hire a sales/marketing executive to manage your Asian distributors outside of Japan, it is probably best to hire a candidate who speaks both Mandarin and English and is ethnically Chinese. The best Asian sales/marketing executives to cover the region can usually be found in Malaysia, Taiwan, or Singapore. While Singaporeans tend to be very Westernized, oftentimes they are not very entrepreneurial. If you are looking for someone with more entrepreneurial qualities, a Chinese candidate from Malaysia or Taiwan may be your best bet.
Hiring Medical Executives in China
If you need to recruit a general manager to run your business in China, look for someone who is fluent in Mandarin and English, and is Westernized. The crucial question here is how much experience the Chinese executive has in working at Western companies or living in the West. Normally, the more exposure to Western business the Chinese candidate has, the better able to understand Western business and ethical values they will be.
Hiring Regulatory Executives
Recruiting regulatory executives for your medical business in Asia can be quite challenging as well. Currently there is a huge shortage of good RA/QA executives in Asia. Once you find the right RA/QA executive who performs well and is reliable, it is your job to keep this person happily employed so they cannot be easily poached. Obviously, without product registration, you cannot grow your Asian business. Thus, hiring and retaining a capable, experienced RA/QA professional is essential.
The success of your business overseas all too often rides on your relationship with the people you hired to manage your affairs there. Always remember to do extra due diligence before making an offer to an Asian candidate. Once you recruit an excellent Asian executive, it is your job to establish a strong, trusting relationship in order for your Asian business to thrive.