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Returned Students Play Increasing Role in Shanghai
Overseas-educated students returning home so far have set up more than 2,400 enterprises in Shanghai, China's major economic powerhouse in east China, with investment topping 420 million US dollars.

Shanghai, like a huge magnet, has been drawing back a growing number of Chinese students overseas, said Tang Weimin, director of the Shanghai Service Center for Overseas-returned Students.

Those talented personnel returning from abroad were running a large group of new and high-tech enterprises involving information technology, biological medicines, automobile manufacturing and new materials, and contributing much to the city's economic development, Tang added.

He said Shanghai's municipal government, in its urgent search for competent, skilled people, had drawn up a series of preferential policies and measures to encourage more students from overseas to return.

For example, the municipality granted those businesses run by the returned students the same preferences as those run by the overseas Chinese, including compatriots from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

The criteria for setting up such businesses had also been lowered, with a minimum registered capital reduced to 12,000 US dollars for running consultancy services 62,000 US dollars for managing production companies, and 100,000 US dollars for firms dealing with international trade, the official said.

Enterprises run by returned students now enjoy tax reductions or exemptions to some extent in certain sectors.

Moreover, the municipal government had also set up five development parks for the returned students in the suburban Zhangjiang, Jiading and Caohejing districts, Tang said, adding that the students had made an outstanding contribution to local economic development.

The Shanghai Longlin Telecommunications Technology Co. Ltd, setup by Gao Hanzhong, an student returned from the United States, for example, focuses on media network research and development. His company has signed a technological cooperation agreement with the China Railway Telecommunications Company, with product sales targeting the 100 million yuan (US$12 million) mark this year.

Some newly developed products made by students-run firms have gained their own intellectual property rights, filling in blanks in certain domestic scientific research sectors.

The Shanghai Renkang Science and Technology Co. Ltd, founded by Dr. Peng Shaocheng who returned from Japan, has succeeded in turning out a type of medical dressing which was in a great demand in China to treat large-scale burns.

The returned students had helped upgrade the city's commercial management by utilizing state-of-art management concepts, marketing strategies and conventional international practices, Tang said.

(People's Daily February 24, 2003)

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