By Zhao Yusha, Global Times
China welcomes the largest ever influx of overseas returnees, who have been the main driving force behind the country’s globalization and technological development after the start of reform and opening-up.
Over 40 years, these foreign-educated Chinese students have played a leading role in a variety of fields, and used their international training and expertise to propel the development of domestic industries, Wang Huiyao, founder and president of the Center for China and Globalization (CCG), said at a Tuesday forum in Beijing.
Attended by 300 officials and representatives from institutions and companies, the forum discussed the overseas returnees’ contributions to China’s development over the past four decades.
Wang said 81 percent of academicians at the Chinese Academy of Sciences studied overseas, and that a growing number of foreign-educated students have begun to take on greater responsibilities in government agencies.
Between 1978 and 2017, 83.73 percent of overseas Chinese students, or 3.13 million, returned home after having completed their studies, the Ministry of Education said.
In 2017 alone, the number of returning students reached 480,900, up 11.19 percent from 2016, the State Council, China’s cabinet, said in April.
It said there are 351 entrepreneurial parks nationwide, home to more than 23,000 companies which attracted 86,000 returning students.
Now is the best time for overseas returnees to start businesses and contribute to China’s development, as the country embraces the rapidly-growing innovation and high-tech industry, Xiong Xiaoge, chairman and founding partner of IDG Capital, said at the forum.
A report released by CCG in 2017 said that most overseas Chinese talent end up working in industries such as IT and communication, and internet companies.
Xiong noted that the China-proposed Belt and Road initiative and the country’s free trade zones are also searching for people with an overseas education background.
The CCG survey showed that the top three advantages of overseas-educated graduates are their international perspective, foreign language ability and cross-cultural communication skills.
The Chinese government has rolled out many preferential policies to attract overseas Chinese students.
Favorable policies encourage entrepreneurship, including intellectual property-backed loans for start-up financing, a simpler process for registering trademarks, optimized application procedures for exports and support for the commercialization of R&D findings, the State Council said in April.
Since the launch of the reform and opening-up, students who studied abroad also managed to provide a bridge between China and the outside world, playing a greater role in spreading Chinese culture, which profoundly promotes China’s soft power internationally, said Wan Lijun, chairman of All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese.
Guan Xiaoxi, a student who returned to China in 2015 after two years’ study of culinary arts and business in France, told the Global Times on Tuesday that a majority of her fellow Chinese classmates in France have chosen to return to China.
“China has become the first choice for many [of us] because it is more open and diverse, with a nice ecological environment, rich human resources and mounting opportunities,” she said.
Overseas Chinese students also enjoy other preferential policies, such as housing, career development and innovation, Guan said.
File photo of foreign Chinese students from economist.com