There are problems with expatriate staff as well. Especially, (and unfortunately) often with personnel in professional services.
Expensive, and not really much point, especially if their Chinese language capabilities are minimal. However, many look good, and although their firms may have a China presence, what about their individual presence in China? International lawyers are great at international work – cross border structuring and so on – but far too many of them profess expertise in areas of China practice they are neither qualified or experienced to be dealing with. Are you looking for a salesman selling his firm, or proper advice? Really, if you need to hire a lawyer with China experience – go to a firm that has the real thing. That's what they are there for, and China has had private lawyers now for 15 years – Google their names to see how well known they are.
Well, everyone has to start somewhere. But a new kid just out of language school is still a new kid out of language school, and will have no experience dealing with the "China issues." Don't expect miracles. And two years in China does not an expert make. Young graduates do have skills of course, but don't weigh them down too much with managerial responsibilities before they have had time to adjust them to a commercial business environment and have found their feet around your business. A management development program designed to maximize on their language skills yet introduce them to your business will reap greater rewards both for you and for them if you treat them with continuing educational attention.
Expats of note are those who really know their way around, and can steer you away from all the problems. They will have a good grasp of the language, and may well have settled down with family here. You cannot survive in China without knowing how to get on, and this is a matter of experience as well as possessing inherent patience, tenacity and people and communications skills. They are available – interestingly at this time, many of the established multinationals are localizing and expatriate engineering and other talent is perhaps more available in China than ever before.