Major Chinese Cities Set to Drive Innovation with Talents
The 19th Conference on International Exchange of Professionals was held in Shenzhen on April 2021. (PHOTO: VCG)
By ZHONG Jianli
China has put forward its innovation-driven development strategy, and talented personnel are seen as central to technological advancement. Major Chinese cities have adopted different measures to grow the domestic and foreign talent pool to drive sci-tech innovation.
Beijing: To be country's hub of talents and innovation
Beijing is home to nearly 100 universities, more than 1,000 research institutes and more than 20,000 high-tech enterprises. Aiming to develop the capital into an international hub of sci-tech innovation, Beijing adopted a strategy of talent-led development.
In 2020, Beijing topped the list of global cities for scientific research published by the Nature, a leading international scientific journal. The number of highly cited scientists in Beijing reached 253, surpassing the Silicon Valley in the U.S. for the first time.
To maintain and develop its advantage in sci-tech innovation, Beijing has identified Zhongguancun Science City, Huairou Science City, Future Science City and the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Area as the main battleground for innovation in such areas as artificial intelligence, quantum information, integrated circuits and key new materials.
The city has also carried out reform to facilitate the entry and exit of international talents. For example, it has innovated a new policy where foreign talents could apply for Chinese "green card" abroad. Thanks to the policy, 26 foreign talents have been granted permanent residence in China. It has also improved the process for overseas experts to work in Beijing by shortening the approval duration to 10 working days.
Shanghai: Developing more opportunities for foreign talents
On September 29, the 2021 "Gathering Global Talents" Innovation and Entrepreneurship Summit was launched in Shanghai, with 2,944 employers releasing 14,122 positions for high-level talents around the globe.
This is just one of the activities that Shanghai held to seek for domestic and international talents. To encourage innovation, Shanghai promotes the building of low-cost, convenient, and open maker-spaces. World-renowned incubators, represented by WeWork, have settled in Shanghai.
It has also set up the venture capital fund and angel investment fund to provide financial support for sci-tech innovation enterprises. The Shanghai Intellectual Property Exchange has been established to improve the environment for intellectual property protection.
The city announces that it will make more attractive policies for overseas experts, which include work permits and quasi-citizen services for foreign experts in start-up enterprises and young foreign talent in STEM fields. The city will support the Pudong New Area in gradually lifting restrictions on overseas experts in some professional fields and establishing a system for recognizing international professional qualifications.
Guangdong: To set up high-level R&D institutes
Building high-level research and development institutes and introducing high-level experts are important measures for cities in Guangdong province to accumulate high-end innovation resources.
In recent years, 10 provincial laboratories have been built in Guangdong. To date, it has 30 state key labs, 430 provincial key labs, 21 high-level innovation research institutes, and 20 Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao joint labs.
This August, a notice about the application for the high-end talent exchange program in 2021 and 2022 was released, in which differentiated topics were set up for retired experts, overseas top-tier teachers, and young foreign researchers. This aims to further promote the exchange of international talents to Guangdong.
Moreover, the province continues to put forward new measures to facilitate foreigners working and living there. For example, Shenzhen has set up a comprehensive service platform to provide a one-stop service for foreigners. And those high-end and on-demand foreign experts working in nine mainland cities of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area will enjoy a preferential policy for individual income tax.
Horace Loh, a world-renowned pharmacologist, said that "China has introduced many policies for foreign experts, and there are different projects for different ages. China's policies for overseas experts have reached an unprecedented level, and the most telling evidence is their increasing number coming to work in China."