Authorities in east China's Jiangsu Province are looking overseas for the talent to drive the province's development to the next level.
The east China economic powerhouse is seeking to add 20,000 workers from overseas in the next five years, said Zhao Kezhi, vice- governor of the province.
Targets include both Chinese and foreign specialists, he said.
Statistics show that during the past five years, 2,000 foreign experts as well as more than 10,000 Chinese students overseas have come to work in the province. This group has completed 1,600 technical research and human resources training projects.
"But they still account for a low proportion of the province's labor pool. We need more overseas talents as the province's economy heads forward," said Zhao.
To realize the goal, the province plans to set up liaison offices in eight developed countries, including USA, Australia, and Japan.
"Preferential policies offered by Jiangsu for overseas talent and the projects Jiangsu wants to promote will be displayed regularly through these offices. This will make talented individuals better informed about the investment environment in Jiangsu," an official surnamed Zhu with the Bureau of Foreign Expert Affairs under Jiangsu Provincial Department of Personnel told China Daily.
In addition to heading to foreign countries to recruit, the province also plans to arrange annual trips around the province for overseas talents to see it for themselves.
The province has announced a series of preferential policies to improve living and working conditions.
"First of all, they will be properly accommodated, and their family members will enjoy help in work and education," said Zhu.
A major goal of the recruitment drive is to encourage entrepreneurship.
To get their own enterprises started, overseas talent will be given tax breaks and low interest loans. The local government has also promised support to initiate research, and has made promises on intellectual property rights, according to Zhu.
Several cities in the province have already set up large-scale enterprise parks to meet the demands of overseas business people.
Zhu said most overseas talent in the province work in IT, pharmaceutical and new materials industries.
Shi Zhengrong, chief executive officer of Wuxi-based Suntech Power Co, Ltd, is an example of the sort of overseas talent the province is trying to attract. Shi's company became the world's biggest solar energy company by market value after its debut in New York last December.
"I am very much impressed by the preferential terms offered by Jiangsu. The investment environment here is a really good platform for people like me," Shi said last week during a lecture to a batch of students who want to come back and work in Jiangsu.
(China Daily July 4, 2006)