Hengqin pins its future on attracting talent

By Li Xiaohua and Li Yang
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, December 21, 2017
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Li Weihui, deputy secretary of CPC Hengqin New Area Committee. [Photo by Huang Shan/China.org.cn]

Residing in Macao and working in Hengqin, a coastal island of Zhuhai City in Guangdong Province, Vincent Zhou enjoys his two-city life. It takes him less than 20 minutes to reach his office in Hengqin by car.

In his mid-30s, Zhou is the CEO of Bringbuys, an internet startup in Hengqin's entrepreneurship park InnoValley, where the company is exempt from paying rent and utility bills, which Zhou says is of great help to newly-established enterprises.

Vincent Zhou,the CEO of Bringbuys, an internet startup in Hengqin's entrepreneurship park InnoValley, receives an interview by China.org.cn. [Photo/China.org.cn by Huang Shan]

The convenient transport, as well as the ideal business and natural environments, makes Hengqin home to 33,000 startups in finance, trade, new and high technologies, and industries such as tourism, culture and biopharmaceuticals.

Chinese central authorities earmarked Hengqin, which is located in the center of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Great Bay Area, as a national "new area for development" in 2009, and part of the pilot free-trade zone of Guangdong in 2015.

Hengqin is seeking to attract large numbers of skilled workers to sustain its fast development and is improving its infrastructure to increase the island's appeal, said Li Weihui, deputy secretary of CPC Hengqin New Area Committee.

The government has tried many ways to marshal fresh talent and provide new arrivals with thoughtful services.

For academics from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the government offers each 5 million yuan ($760,000) to encourage them to work or start their own business in Hengqin, and for the experts of the central government's "1,000 Talent Project," the subsidy is 2 million yuan each.

Hengqin spends more than 10 percent of its revenue every year on attracting talent. The InnoValley for startups covers an area of more than 200,000 square meters, and the rent is waived for the first three years of each business's operation. It now houses about 200 companies.

"Hengqin's support is better than expected," said Michael Men, CEO and president of ImStem Biotechnology Inc. "We can focus all our energy on research. The policies of the government and the free trade zone fit us well."

Li said the government set up a talent service center to help people solve problems arising in both their business and daily lives. He said the efforts are necessary to make people feel they are valued and respected.

"Although Bringbuys is only a normal startup, the government responded quickly to help solve a problem on seeking financing from overseas. Their thoughtful, tailor-made services touched me," Zhou said.

The government's efficiency in implementing the preferential policies for skilled individuals and businesses is impressive, Zhou added.

Hengqin will provide housing subsidies to college graduates on a monthly basis starting in January, with 3,000 yuan for those with PhDs, 1,200 yuan for master's degree holders and 600 yuan for graduates with bachelor's degrees.

Zhou said that he welcomes the housing subsidy policies. "It is easier for our company to hire new employees."

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