Thursday, January 10, 2008

Inside Outsourcing

My employer is making some moves into China. Luckily, the days of moving entire groups to Bangalore, US teams might see one or new people added (if their team even has anyone). There were a few interesting things I learned about the process:

There is a glut of applicants. My employer saw around 200 résumés, interviewed around 20 candidates and made around 10 offers (all of which were accepted). A test was used to help decide who's worth interviewing.

The problems are more interesting than that basic story.

This is the Corporate Rant, so it's a fair assumption that I work for a large company. I'll say that in the US, the company is a bit of a has-been. The Chinese didn't feel that way. For whatever reason (a fascination with the West, eagerness to industrialize, or behind the times), a large, stable US company is prestigious for Chinese.

There is a history of cheating on the exams. In the time I spent as a TA, I noticed this, too; foreign students were more likely to cheat and more brazen in it than their domestic counterparts.

Not surprisingly, there is concern about revealing our code base to our Chinese workers. Apple-style black box coding is common due to security concerns. Outsourcing facilitators are even aware of this and provide fine grained access control to their client companies.

Their English is bad, even by Chinese American standards, though a few are good at it. Contrast this to India, a former British colony with a language distantly related to English.

Workers are assigned to cubicle corners, 4 workers per cube.

Long term, China's only chance of surpassing the US as a global power is through their population. There are too many accidents waiting to happen there for it to maintain such a position for long.

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