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China lacks enough talent in core self-driving tech

By Zhou Wenting in Suzhou | Updated: 2018-06-08 21:15

A report by the professional networking website LinkedIn found a talent deficiency in the core technologies of autonomous driving in China and suggested local enterprises should attract more overseas talent to continue fast growth in the field.

Compared with the United States, the report showed that last year the C++ program language and Matlab topped the rankings in areas related to the need for more talent in autonomous driving in China, but the increase in the talent supply in these areas was obviously lagging behind.

In contrast, the increase in the talent supply in core technologies, including deep learning, computer science and machine learning, in the US was far ahead of China, according to the report based on LinkedIn user data that was released Friday.

Julia Zhu, vice-president of global recruitment at Byton, a Jiangsu province-based electric car startup founded by former BMW executives, echoed the report findings, and said that was one of the main reasons that many Chinese enterprises, including Byton, set up an office or conducted recruiting at Silicon Valley.

"Talent availability is one of the factors for us to decide our global locations," said Zhu. The startup has offices in Silicon Valley and Munich, Germany, in addition to those at home.

Talent in these three respective places carry obvious features of their own, Zhu said.

"For Silicon Valley, it is top high-tech and advanced engineering; for Munich, it is supreme design; and for China, it is automotive and industrial manufacturing, engineering, sales and marketing in additional to high-tech," she said.

The LinkedIn report also found that some cities in the Yangtze River Delta, such as Suzhou, Nanjing and Hangzhou, formed a competitive group in appealing to talent in new energy and intelligent automobiles while 70 percent of such talent in the country gathered in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou in a descending order.

Suzhou came in second on a ranking list of all the cities on the Chinese mainland with a net inflow of talent in autonomous driving at 23 percent last year. This compares to the 37 percent for Shanghai, the highest for the nation, and 22 percent for Beijing.

Industry analysts believed local preferential policies and talent supply in Suzhou, a long-established industrial base, and those neighboring cities, such as Shanghai, home to leading institutions including Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Tongji University, are important contributing factors.

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