The aim of this article is to examine how strategic talent management (STM) is defined and understood by Chinese small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and of the talent management and retention strategies Chinese SMEs use in the service sector. The case study of four Chinese service SMEs reveals that managers have different views about talent: according to some, STM means simply having a right candidate in the right job category. The findings also indicate that work environment, career advancement opportunities, and a good compensation package are acknowledged as a best strategy for attracting talent. The SMEs use various recruitment strategies; internship is one of most frequent ones for the recruitment of new talent, which SMEs consider to be a good approach to nurturing new talent. The findings further suggest that Chinese SMEs use similar approaches to those used by firms in developed markets, but Chinese SMEs pay more attention to the compensation package and job roles. Overall, the findings indicate that SMEs take both a universalist and a selective performance–oriented approach when it comes to talent management.