We examine performance differences between new ventures led by returnees and those led by their local counterparts in China. We argue that while, compared with locals, returnees have the advantages of higher education and overseas experience, they also have disadvantages in their home country in terms of lack of both local connections and local knowledge. Since returnees' effect on venture performance is the net effect of their advantages and disadvantages, contextual factors that can help them overcome their disadvantages should improve their ventures' performance. With a sample of new technology ventures in China, we find strong support for this argument. Copyright © 2012 Strategic Management Society.