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Dalian on Global Software Talent Hunt

Dalian, which is competing with Beijing to be the information technology (IT) outsourcing center in China, Tuesday started a worldwide talent hunt for software professionals.

Xia Deren, mayor of the city, said Tuesday that the four-month recruitment will start in September in six Chinese cities, Canada, the United States, Singapore, India, and Japan. "The shortage of talent has become an issue that we have to solve," said Xia.


The northeast coastal city, neighboring South Korea and Japan, aims to recruit 10,000 engineers for more than 100 software companies, including up to 3,000 for senior positions.


The situation reflects the big gap between the city's ambition to become a major global software outsourcing destination and the lack of qualified software engineers.


Dalian, based on a report by top German consultancy Roland Berger, aims to develop a software industry with revenues of 80-100 billion yuan (US$9.87-12.33 billion) by 2012 and exports of US$4 billion. It is estimated that as many as 200,000 people will be employed in the industry.


The city, where many residents are fluent in Japanese and Korean, has become the most favored overseas destination for companies from the two countries which want to outsource software contracts to low-cost regions.


The unique geographic advantage has attracted 22 of the Fortune Global 500 companies to set up software and service centers in the city.


The city has seen software sales rise from 200 million yuan (US$24.6 million) in 1998 to 7 billion yuan (US$863 million) last year, which are forecast to reach 10 billion yuan (US$1.23 billion).


However, the fast growth and ambitious goals also mean a huge demand for software professionals.


A total of 22 universities and colleges in the city produce 4,000 computer major students a year, and the total supply is 10,000 engineers including those from training institutes, but the actual demand could reach as high as 100,000 people in three years, from the current 30,000 engineers.


IBM, which set up a software center in Dalian in 2003, plans to have 20,000 engineers in five years, but only attracted 600 by the end of last year.


Chen Sheng, site manager of HP (Dalian) Global Delivery Operation Center, said his firm has 800 people now, but plans to boost the number to 2,000-3,000 in one or two years.


Grace Li, human resources director with GE (Dalian) Administrative Management technology Consulting Ltd, said her firm also plans to triple the current 1,300-person team in the near future and that shortage of talented people is a bottleneck.


(China Daily August 17, 2005)



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