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Multinationals risk defeat in China talent war

Foreign companies must promote managers faster, or lose more key staff

| China
Shanghai-born Qi Lu, Baidu chief operating officer, studied and worked in the U.S. before returning to China.   © Reuters

In the competitive Chinese market, Western companies are losing the war for talent. Take the case of Qi Lu, a Chinese software executive and engineer. Born in Shanghai and raised in a remote village in Jiangsu Province, Lu secured a coveted slot in the computer science doctoral program at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University in the 1990s and spent the next two decades rising through Silicon Valley's ranks to become a trusted lieutenant to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and executive vice president of the company.

But last year, Lu decided to leave the U.S. tech industry to become chief operating officer of Baidu, the Chinese tech giant that has become a global leader in artificial intelligence. The reason, he told the digital magazine Backchannel, was that "China has the structural advantage."

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