Economic zone recruits across Straits

Updated: 2012-02-15 07:59

By Chen Xin (China Daily)

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BEIJING - An economic development zone in East China's Fujian province will enact policies favorable to professionals from Taiwan to collaboratively build the new area, said Fujian authorities on Tuesday.

Pingtan Island, slightly larger than island country Malta, lies 125 kilometers away from Taiwan's Hsinchu and is the Chinese mainland's closest point to Taiwan.

"Pingtan will explore a new cooperation model between the mainland and Taiwan," said Fan Hengshan, director of the regional economy department under the National Development and Reform Commission, the top economic planner, at a news conference on Tuesday.

Pingtan aims to introduce 1,000 professionals from Taiwan in fields such as high technology, modern services, agriculture and social management over the next five years.

This year, the island plans to offer more than 400 jobs to talented individuals from other countries and regions. Of those jobs, some positions, including an opening for deputy director of the Pingtan management committee, the governing body of Pingtan, and four deputy heads of departments under the committee, are targeted at professionals from Taiwan. Yearly salaries of those positions range from 250,000 yuan ($40,000) to 600,000 yuan.

Jiang Xinzhi, director of the organization department of Fujian, said that there are currently seven members on the Pingtan management committee who are all from Fujian.

"We plan to recruit professionals from Taiwan to take leadership roles in the committee and let them jointly take part in Pingtan's development decisions," he said.

Chen Hua, vice-governor of Fujian, said the central government has prioritized the development of Pingtan and seeks to let businesspeople and ordinary residents of Taiwan participate in making the policies of Pingtan.

"We'll also draw experience from Taiwan's social management mode and let those from Taiwan have more say in the management of communities in Pingtan where people from Taiwan are concentrated," she said.

Fujian authorities will provide favorable healthcare, pension, employment, hukou (permanent residence permit), housing, and education policies to professionals from Taiwan.

Professionals from Taiwan can also receive subsidies from the local government if the move results in them paying more individual income tax due to differences in tax policies between Taiwan and the mainland. The subsidy is exempted from taxes.

Talented professionals in scientific and technological research, financing, higher education, training and modern services can live in public rental housing for free. They will also have the opportunity to buy subsidized housing in Pingtan if they have worked on the island for more than three years.

In addition, Pingtan will offer favorable tax and financing policies to college graduates from Taiwan who want to start their own businesses on the island.

A high-speed ferry began to operate twice a week between Pingtan and Taichung, a city in central-western Taiwan, on Nov 30.

Gong Qinggai, director of the management committee of Pingtan, said they will increase the number of ships and improve transportation services in the future.

Fujian plans to invest more than 250 billion yuan from 2011 to 2015 to construct infrastructure in Pingtan, and the island will receive a subsidy of 800 million yuan from the central government budget every year from 2010 to 2015.