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China – Measures adopted to halt ‘brain-drain’

30 July 2013

China is planning to lure back 2,000 top Chinese specialists in order to halt the growing ‘brain-drain’. Specialists in the fields of IT, biotechnology, aerospace, environmental protection, agricultural technology, and transportation are of top priority, according to China Daily.

China has implemented a Medium- and Long-Term Talent Development Plan to run between 2010 and 2020 to encourage specialists to return to China. The plan includes financial incentives where specialists can enjoy a 15% preferential tax policy if they start a high-tech enterprise upon their return.

This is not the first time that the Chinese government has attempted to halt the exodus of Chinese talent. Since the 1990s there have been at least seven major projects launched by the government. Between 1990 and 2010, the Ministry of Education invested CNY 600 million (USD 97.1 million) to provide seed funding for more than 20,000 returnees to conduct scientific research. 

As many as 82% of mainland China’s top specialists in science and engineering who have travelled abroad for work or study have no plans to return. The most popular destination for Chinese students has been the United States where students enjoy greater scientific freedoms to pursue research of their choice.

In 2012, the US Department of Homeland Security reports that 32,000 people from the Chinese mainland became naturalised US citizens last year, while 82,000 received green cards. An estimated 90% of Chinese students who get a PhD in the US choose to settle there permanently.

The investment in encouraging scientists and specialists to return to China comes amid growing concern of rising unemployment and fears of a stagnating economy. For further information on the Chinese employment market, please click here.


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