Within the state sector the Foreign Trade Corporation (FTCs) have been at the forefront of changes arising out of China’s ' ‘open door’ policy. The FTCs have had to cope with deregulation, changes in scope and increased internal competition. Such pressures have brought about changes in personnel and management practices and have led to an interest in Western HRM. Recent evidence about such changes has been drawn from eighteen projects undertaken by the FTCs and reported within a major UN-funded management development programme. The research confirms increased emphasis in the FTCs on strategic awareness, individuality and flexibility; in two areas, however, namely workers’ representation and empowerment of line managers, there was no evidence of significant change in Chinese practices. These developments in the FTCs, while far from being widespread throughout China’s state-owned enterprises, may well be a pointer to emerging personnel management practice.