Foreign headhunting companies see opportunity and innovation in newly announced policies in Beijing's recruitment market and say they expect the whole industry will benefit.
Foreign talent agencies can now own up to 70 percent of a joint venture registered in the Chinese capital, up from 49 percent, Chen Bei, a spokeswoman for the city's Human Resources and Social Security Bureau, said on Tuesday.
Also, a requirement has been removed that foreign investors have at least three years of experience in the recruitment industry overseas before entering the Beijing market.
"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," Chen said.
Simon Lance, managing director for China at Hays Specialist Recruitment, a UK-listed multinational company, called it a positive move that will drive innovation and boost more cooperation between Chinese and foreign headhunting companies.
"The policy will cause more competition of course because it encourages more investors to come to Beijing,... but it will drive innovation, which is good for any business," Lance said.
More foreign investors will seek Chinese partners for joint ventures in the business, which is helpful in the transfer of knowledge and expertise between the two sides, he said.
China opened its recruitment market around 2000. Since then, foreign headhunting companies started to enter the market through joint ventures with Chinese partners.
Beijing's new policy is among efforts to attract more overseas talent to the city.
Lance said it will take a year or two to see the positive effect in terms of landing foreign talent.
Wei Ran, director of Shanghai procurement and supply chain at Michael Page, a British recruitment firm, said China has become its second-largest human resources market and it is expanding its services to more local companies and opening new offices as it faces increasing competition.
"China is a candidate-driven market," she said. "Opportunities are there."
She said the increased share that foreign investors can own in joint ventures can help companies better organize their personnel and grow profit.
Xu Ye, consultant director of Dynamic Resources Asia, a recruitment firm based in Vancouver, Canada, said the company may establish a Beijing office because of the new policy.
"The new policy may not represent much of a threat to current players, whether foreign or domestic, given that the industry underwent a shakeout during the financial crisis. The ones that survived have their own strengths," she said.