Regional/ News

Top draw for global expertise

By Liang Kaiyan | China Daily | Updated: 2018-09-19 08:17

Shandong province is becoming a powerful draw for foreign nationals and international companies, officials and businessmen say, because of its favorable recruitment policies and dynamic business environment.

In April, the Shandong government published updated recruitment policies, addressing various important aspects including a mechanism for attracting top-flight people and methods for developing leading personnel.

Vladimir Terzija - professor of electrical and electronic engineering at the University of Manchester who has been a visiting professor at Shandong University since 2012, and who was elected as member of the Taishan Scholar Plan in 2014 - said a comprehensive recruitment policy was initiated in 2004 in Shandong.

As a Taishan scholar, Terzija has been involved in such vital areas of activity as research into the prevention of power system blackouts, integration of renewable energy sources as well as the publication of high-impact research papers.

Shandong's government has provided facilities and strong financial support for this kind of prestigious research, he said.

He said all this had provided "strong motivation" for him and Shandong University to apply for the country's Thousand Talents Plan.

The program, established by China in 2008, aims to attract and retain internationally trained Chinese experts, researchers and technicians, among others - as well as renowned foreigners, among them Nobel Prize winners.

In 2017, Terzija was elected as a member of the Thousand Talents Plan.

"This is one of the highest achievements in my career," Terzija said.

He added that "accepting the duty" to meet the expectations of the Chinese government was motivating them to work harder and utilize the maximum potential in resources, both from Manchester and China.

Zhang Jigang, executive vice-president of the Shandong People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, said the province had established enduring relations with countries around the world through sharing knowledge and experience in the wake of the continued opening up.

"We invite more foreigners to come and develop themselves in Shandong," Zhang said.

To date, some 84 foreigners have been recognized as honorary citizens of the province and 142 have been appointed what is called "friendly envoys" of Shandong.

Andrzej Bednarski, the international project director of the Shandong Sun Paper Industry Stock Co, has been working in the province ever since arriving from the United States in 2011. He was elected as a friendly envoy for Shandong province in 2016.

"I'm the only foreign worker in a company with 13,000 employees and this makes my work life very interesting," Bednarski said. "I am considered a foreign expert, so I receive a lower tax rate."

Last year, Shandong's government issued a policy to attract more foreign innovators - including incentives such as subsidies for companies up to a maximum of 5 million yuan ($742,000) - aiming to promote the province's social and economic development.

There have been many major changes over a short time in Shandong, Bednarski said.

"The local business environment is very dynamic and fast-changing; each year brings new surprises and challenges," he said.

Shandong's paper industry now boasts many modern factories whose practical expertise can be used abroad where facilities can be older, Bednarski said.

Festo, a Germany-based high technology provider, decided to set up its largest overseas production center in Jinan, Shandong province.

"Setting up the global production base in Jinan is the result of the group's investment strategy," said Yin Liyun, director of the project.

The center in Jinan is the main hub for Festo's push to develop its global market, especially for increasing market share in China, Yin said. In 2016, the Shandong government signed an agreement with Festo, approving a total of 43.33 hectares of land to be used for the company's production center in the Jinan Innovation Zone.

To date, Festo has acquired 10 hectares of land and it will complete building of the first phase which will start operations at the end of November this year.

The company is negotiating with the government to buy another 33.33 hectares of land and is expected to complete construction on it by 2020.

"Compared with the past, the roles of government and companies have now become more equal and we are more like partners," Yin said.

In February, the Shandong government released a policy to accelerate the shift from old power generation to new energy, aimed at promoting economic development.

The policy is like a spring wind for the smart industry, Yin said,

"As a manufacturer of automation products, we are the immediate beneficiaries," he added.

"We have confidence in the support of local government and in its development plans."

Top draw for global expertise

(China Daily 09/19/2018 page29)

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