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Attracted by opportunities, Chinese students trek back home

By Wu Yan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2016-07-22 10:54

Attracted by opportunities, Chinese students trek back home

Chinese students celebrate their graduation from Columbia University on May 20. [photo/Xinhua]

There has been an exponential increase in the number of Chinese overseas students applying for jobs in the country, said a human resources manager in Shanghai.

"Twenty out of 100 resumes are submitted by Chinese students studying abroad," said Zhang Zhuoya, human resources manager of a financial institute in Shanghai, adding that there were only five or six overseas students sending their resumes out of 100 three to four years ago.

According to Xinhua, there were 144,000 Chinese students abroad in 2007 and 44,000 came back to China, making the return rate 30.5 percent. Whereas, last year the number of overseas students was 523,700 and returnees 409,100, pushing the return rate to 78.1 percent.

Although one of the reasons for the jump in numbers is that more Chinese are going abroad for studies, another crucial factor is that China is offering more job opportunities and better growth development.

He An, 30, studied in Switzerland for three years and worked there for two years before coming back to China in 2015 at the cost of giving up "Green Card" application. He is now in charge of marketing at an online-to-offline food delivery company in Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province.

He said the social environment of Western countries has been stagnant for decades, but in China changes are happening enormously, offering many commercial opportunities.

"Most of my overseas classmates have come back to seek better opportunities,” said He.

The tough visa process and work permit are also the reasons why many are choosing to come back.

Zhou Yijing, who graduated from a university in France three years ago, planned to work for several years in Europe to gain some experience before going back to China. But after the 2007 financial crisis, countries such as France and the UK tightened the issuance of work visa to foreign students in order to save job opportunities for citizens.

"There were a dozen of Chinese students with me that year, all were forced to come back except one who married a French man," Zhou said.

The Chinese government has also recently rolled out policies to attract talent by launching such programs as "Recruitment Program of Global Experts" (1,000 talent plan) and setting up "overseas students pioneer parks" (overseas students start-up business incubators).

The number of high-level talent returning reached 44,000 since 2009 through talent plans, with the year of 2015 alone attracting 7,542, Xinhua reported citing Tang Tao, vice-minister of Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

Till now, 67,000 returnees are working in 321 "overseas students pioneer parks" across the country, according to Xinhua.

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