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What are the advantages of an L visa versus an H1B? Vice versa?

I have friends in China/Hong Kong and Southeast Asia who were considering visa applications this year.
Meri:

The big difference is an L1 is a transfer of existing employment to a US employer from a foreign subsidiary.

See this site - http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis

Also, contact the US Consulate Office in the country your friends are traveling from.

H1B Specialty Occupation Visas

This is a visa for people coming to the USA to work for a US employer in a professional-level position. Valid for 3 years initially, can be extended to 6.

Candidate Requirements:

Candidate must have secured job offer from a US source.
In order to get an H1B visa you will need the equivalent of a US college or university degree in a relevant subject.

If you have been educated outside the US, this requirement can often be met by:

EITHER - A non-US and/or only partly relevant degree, followed by three or more years work experience.

OR – Twelve years of high-level work experience.

If you wish to practice a profession such as law, medicine, or accountancy, etc, you will also need to obtain the relevant State or Federal license to practice in the place of intended employment.

L1 Intra-Company Transfer Visas

The L1 visa is used to transfer to a US parent, affiliate, subsidiary or branch office an employee from a related foreign company. There are two types of L1 visas:

The L1A for Executive/Managerial staff
The L1B for Specialist Knowledge staff

L1 visas are issued for an initial 1 or 3 years.
L1A visas can be extended to a maximum of 7 years.
L1B visas can be extended to a maximum of 5 years

Candidate Requirements:

You must have worked for the transferring employer outside US for at least one year in the last three.

If you are a manager/executive, you must be going to manage a major

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