While ranking on the Fortune Global 500 list indicates the growing clout of Chinese corporations, it does not mean that a company is internationally active or even that it is a real multinational. When these companies are ranked by foreign assets and sales, it becomes clear that, with few exceptions, they all operate predominantly within China. In other words, despite the government’s directives and financial incentives to ‘go global’, many leading Chinese corporations have yet to do so.
Second, the Achilles heel of Chinese multinationals is human resources—particularly management. Multilingual and multicultural managers are few and far between, and all assessments of Chinese corporations note this to be a fundamental weakness.