Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Coming of foreign talent mutually beneficial

By Zhang Zhouxiang (China Daily) Updated: 2013-07-08 07:15

Exactly 30 years ago, Deng Xiaoping, the leader who opened China's era of reform and opening-up, delivered a talk on employing foreign talent to accelerate domestic development. "In the matter of modernization we have neither experience nor technical know-how," he said, adding that China could recruit foreigners to "participate in key development projects and other construction projects" in the process.

For the past 30 years, measures have continually been taken to encourage more foreign experts to work in China, especially in the 1980s and early 1990s when the country was lagging far behind the developed world. Now China is the world's second-largest economy, the practice is still beneficial as it helps the nation better cope with global cooperation and competition.

Such recruitment of foreign experts benefits both sides. Especially today, with China's sound education and excellent research programs, the mutual benefit of its cooperation with foreign experts is more evident.

Sufficient support for research is one of the advantages of working in China. Bruno Briseghella, from Italy, is a renowned expert on bridge engineering. He was nominated for the Recruitment Program of Foreign Experts in 2012, which aims to recruit 500 to 1,000 leading foreign experts in science and technology to work in China in 10 years. The program offers a 1 million yuan ($161,800) subsidy for each person selected, as well as other support that varies with the institutions in which they work.

Now working in Fuzhou University as a full-time professor, Briseghella said part of his research here "would not be possible in many other foreign universities due to poor research funds and inefficient laboratories". The students here also have good engineering knowledge and can offer better assistance that is essential to research, he added.

Actually, with China's technology and education rapidly improving, an increasing number of foreign experts are coming to China to further their careers.

For example, Briseghella's joint research with Chinese colleagues on integral abutment bridges is becoming well-known, while some of their recent achievements, such as two bridges in Fujian province, have won international awards.

Working in China can mean more opportunities for the foreign experts and the institutions in which they work, which in turn can enhance their long-term development. Since 2002, Kaspersky Lab, a global anti-virus software producer founded by Eugene Kaspersky, has been sending experts to China and accepting Chinese technicians for training purposes.

The cooperation helps both sides improve their technology and assists Kaspersky in exploring the Chinese market. "Only with clear knowledge of its potential could they decide to enter China's market," said Chen Jianmin, deputy director of National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center, who is in charge of a cooperative program with Kaspersky.

Two years ago, Kaspersky built its only overseas virus analysis laboratory in Beijing.

Strong support for research has attracted more foreign experts to pursue their careers in China. Among them a considerable number are at the top of their profession, it is no longer rare for Nobel laureates to be full-time professors in Chinese universities.

In this age of globalization, there is no territorial limit to talent, and win-win cooperation between experts in different fields can form stable bonds between countries. China should seize the opportunity to recruit and cooperate with global talent in its development, so as not to lag behind in global competition.

The author is a journalist with China Daily.

(China Daily 07/08/2013 page8)

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