This paper is an eye-witness account of how training and management development policies are put into practice in Chinese state-owned enterprises. Observations are made on how training is perceived and implemented in an era of fast socio-economic change. The contribution that western countries could make and the obstacles that could be met, as a result, are also discussed. Thus, it is argued that there is an emergent urge for the development of adequate training programmes that could meet an increased need for skilful and efficient managers who would be able to cope with the reforms. However, the characteristics of the Chinese approach to training and management development could make it difficult to transfer management skills and knowledge that are wanted from the West. Evidence for these observations is drawn from the author's involvement in a major United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the design and teaching of management strategy and human resource management courses to cohorts of managers from selected Chinese foreign trade corporations.