Number of foreign-educated returnees on the rise

CHINA is in the middle of its biggest influx of foreign-educated graduates.

According to a survey released on August 30, more than 2.65 million people who studied overseas had returned to China as of the end of 2016.

In 2016 alone, more than 432,000 foreign-educated Chinese returned, up 58.48 percent from 2012, according to a survey of returnees by the Center for China and Globalization, a Chinese think tank.

While reuniting with family remains the main motive for most, selected by 70.6 percent of those surveyed, favorable policies for overseas-educated students played a large part too.

A survey by China Youth Daily showed that up to 71 percent agreed that their fellow returnees who chose to start businesses benefited from the policies.

Zhang Shuhao, an entrepreneur who provides customized overseas journeys and a returnee himself, is among them.

“The benefits include special project incubators, funds, tax cuts, easier access to permanent residence in first-tier cities and others,” he said. “From an entrepreneurial standpoint, they’re quite appealing.”

China has set up 350 industrial parks exclusively for the foreign-educated, with over 27,000 enterprises settling there.

“A lot of headhunting companies favor overseas graduates, especially for finance jobs,” said Wang Yuxuan, a graduate of the University of Miami and a data analyst in Shanghai.

The CCG survey showed that the top three advantages of overseas-educated graduates lie in their international perspective, foreign languages and cross-culture communication.

Wang said factors such as career fairs and details, including his dress code from life abroad, are what helped him most in his career.

For some, both returnees and local governments could make improvements.

According to the CCG survey, many overseas returnees saw their lack of adaption to Chinese society and market environment as disadvantages.

Their lack of knowledge about the employment situation and employers’ demands in China, as well as the lack of guidance in the direction of their careers also made the list.

As a result, 59 percent of those surveyed would like a communication platform to be set up for young returnees.

The same goes for returned entrepreneurs. Lang Jing, secretary-general of a union of returned entrepreneurs, suggested local governments improve the service system for entrepreneurs, especially in protection of intellectual property.

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