SHANGHAI: Chongqing city is turning to developed eastern China, hoping to find highly skilled professionals - particularly those with masters or doctoral degrees - to help build its economy.
"Skilled talents, especially high-tech players, are key to the development of Chongqing and other areas of the west," Xiao Zuxiu, vice-director of standing committee of Chongqing People's Congress, said in Shanghai yesterday.
Xiao said Chongqing, located on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, will offer housing and salary incentives.
Details of the incentive policies are being drafted, Xiao said.
China's less-developed western regions, whose development is a national goal, have long been plagued by a shortage of highly skilled professionals who historically haven't been keen to relocate to the west because of the poor living and working conditions there.
In a related development, Chongqing's universities will be getting more government funding in an effort to increase the local talent pool, Xiao said.
Chongqing now has 25 universities and colleges. There are nearly 100,000 students in local universities and professional schools.
Xiao urged Shanghai-based enterprises to establish links with Chongqing.
"Investment in Chongqing and other western regions will help Shanghai enterprises to expand their market share into the inland regions," he said.
Xiao's call comes at a time when the Shanghai business community already appears to have that sentiment. Shanghai businesses have opened more than 70 enterprises in Chongqing in such areas as transportation, real estate, environmental protection, education and retailing. The investment now totals 1.7 billion yuan ($204 million).
Shanghai appears committed to invest more in Chongqing's infrastructure and service sectors, the development of the Three Gorges Dam areas and the resettlement of people displaced by the project, which is under construction.
Xiao said Chongqing has much to learn from Shanghai, particularly its high-tech development, enterprise restructuring and corporate management.
He said Shanghai has abundant funding sources since it is China's financial and banking centre and that Chongqing should encourage those funding sources to establish businesses in the city.
Chongqing's profile was strengthened in 1997 when it joined the ranks of Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin as a municipality directly under the central government.