For Zheng Huasheng, executive vice president of China's geophysical services giant BGP, managing his company’s overseas operation is a steep and lifelong learning curve.

“Learning is a daily experience,” says Zheng, a bookworm who makes a point of reading English-language books every day.

He believes a learning curve is a process that cultivates a corporate culture where new initiatives and technologies can flourish by emancipating minds and unlocking employees’ potential — an unusual approach in a country where unified thinking is preferred when it comes to following corporate policies.