Hangzhou: Maintaining momentum as a magnet for global talent

By Wang Yiming
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, December 15, 2021
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This year marks the 11th time that Hangzhou has made the list of the Most Attractive Chinese Cities for Foreigners since the annual poll was first published in 2010 by the State Bureau of Foreign Experts under the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Hangzhou, the capital and most populous city of Zhejiang province in eastern China, moved up to third place in the 2020 rankings, behind only Beijing and Shanghai. This leading hub of industry, technology and digital economy in the Yangtze River Delta area stood out in particular for its livability, openness, favorable legal and economic conditions, and strategies to attract, develop and retain talent.

In collaboration with other departments, the Hangzhou Municipal Science and Technology Bureau has been working to foster a world-class business environment in the city and create a more international environment. With the goals of building a digital and livable "paradise" and a modern socialist cosmopolitan city, it has accelerated the pace of expanding and curating its global talent pool.

As more firms, especially tech companies and startups, settle in Hangzhou and more global professionals opt to live and work in the city, a host of policies and measures are being introduced to facilitate the lives of international talent and promote greater exchange and collaboration, among which the launch of the Hangzhou International Talent Club was one important step.

In June 2019, the city’s science and technology bureau took the lead in setting up the Hangzhou International Talent Club, with the Hangzhou International Friendship Alliance established a year later.

According to an official of the Hangzhou Municipal Science and Technology Bureau, the Hangzhou International Friendship Alliance is responsible for handling such tasks as processing work permits for foreigners coming to China, while the Hangzhou International Talent Club regularly organizes activities to enhance services for international talents and help them better integrate into the city.

Currently, Hangzhou boasts four international talent clubs in Gongshu, Yuhang, Qiantang and Xiaoshan, respectively.

"The important thing is to retain talents," said Hu Nan, director of the Xiaoshan International Talent Club, noting that with the increasingly intense influx of talents, strategies to develop and retain them have become more crucial.

He stressed that one of the goals of the International Talent Club is to keep talents in Hangzhou. "From the arrival of foreigners to Hangzhou, their employment and entrepreneurship, to understanding the culture and integrating into local life, we are committed to providing them with assistance throughout the whole process," Hu said.

"We have organized a series of activities at the International Talent Club and the International Talents Community (ITC), which have proved very popular and generated a lot of positive feedback," Hu said, citing the TECOM Conf Hangzhou 2021 held on June 18 as an example.

The TECOM Conf Hangzhou 2021. [Photo provided to China.org.cn]

Under the guidance of the Hangzhou Municipal Science and Technology Bureau, a tech and entrepreneur communities conference called TECOM Conf Hangzhou 2021 was held at the city’s ITC Guigu International Center. The conference aims to facilitate, strengthen and promote China’s tech and entrepreneurial scene and provide a bridge between corporations, startups and professionals in various industries to help them connect, integrate and innovate.

During the event, over 400 entrepreneurs from tech startups gathered to showcase their projects, and discuss challenges and opportunities. Members of the local and international scenes formed a diverse, inclusive and vibrant community.

"The ITC is a great platform to meet and connect with various people from diverse backgrounds all over the world," said Johan van Dyk, chief operating officer of Hangzhou-based trading company Continental Comex.

Tariro Manyumwa, a Zimbabwean with a master's degree from Zhejiang University who also works in Hangzhou, said that the community is a bridge between the present and future since young people here will go on to play important roles, and being associated with the community helps create opportunities for all.

The local community is very open for new opportunities and brings a lot of value for new companies coming and setting up business, noted Daniela Sena, CEO of Continental Comex, founder of SheUp & Dici Cosmetics, and a live-commerce and retail specialist at Foreseekers.

In order to thrive, cities will have to be the crossroads where global talent congregates and collaborates.

Hangzhou has long valued attracting and retaining talent. Since 2012, it has vigorously implemented the "521 Program for Global Talents Introduction" and the "115 Overseas Talent Introduction Plan."

Apart from establishing China’s first International Talent Entrepreneurship and Innovation Park, it is also among the country’s first cities authorized to review and issue confirmation letters for foreign high-end talents, and one of eight pilot cities to carry out the "all-in-one card" program to provide services for high-level foreign talents.

As a result, Hangzhou has ranked first across the country for the net inflow rate of talents for three consecutive years.

In 2020 alone, the total number of talents in Hangzhou reached 2.85 million, with around 30,000 coming from overseas and 55,000 having studied abroad. To date, over 2,000 projects have been funded for the introduction of talents, more than 5,000 top-level experts have been attracted to the city, and 100,000 foreign experts have been employed here.

A total of 11 foreign experts who have made outstanding contributions have won the Chinese Government Friendship Award, 73 won Zhejiang’s West Lake Friendship Award, and 71 won Hangzhou’s Qiangjiang Friendship Award. Foreign experts are gradually becoming an important driving force in Hangzhou’s social and economic development and an important link between the city and the world.

As Liu Xin, mayor of Hangzhou and deputy secretary of the CPC Hangzhou Committee, remarked at the 2021 Hangzhou International Human Resources Exchange and Cooperation Conference in early November: "Hangzhou is a center of innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity, which makes it an ideal place to live and work."

"The city needs talents more than ever before," he added. "We sincerely welcome high-level talents to settle in the city of Hangzhou and write legendary stories through their efforts."

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