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Shanghai releases new report on returnee entrepreneurs

By Zhou Wenting in Shanghai | | Updated: 2021-09-29 21:10
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Photo taken on Nov 3, 2020, shows a view of the Lujiazui area of Pudong, East China's Shanghai. [Photo/Xinhua]

Shanghai-based startups founded by Chinese entrepreneurs returning from overseas showed high levels of development and growth, strong competitiveness, and high integration with the municipality, according to a report released by the Shanghai Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau on Wednesday.

These enterprises play up their advantages with resources and their connections to individuals and institutions overseas to actively explore international markets and foster circulations between the local and overseas markets, the report added.

The report, the first in a Chinese city to look into the characteristics of talent returning from overseas, their suitability with the city's blueprint, and how returnees and the city are mutually promoted, was jointly conducted by the bureau, the Shanghai Foreign Service (Group) Co Ltd, and the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences in the first half of this year.

The number of returnees working or running businesses in Shanghai currently stands at more than 220,000, the largest among Chinese cities, according to the bureau.

"The number of such returnees to Shanghai was 67,000 from 2016 to 2020, more than double that of the previous five years," said Zhao Yongfeng, director of the bureau.

"Such individuals numbered more than 22,000 in the first three quarters of this year, equivalent to last year's sum."

According to the report, most of these entrepreneurs used overseas resources to build up technological advantages, form entrepreneurial teams, and develop business contacts.

"A high proportion of the initial core teams in many of such startups was made up of their colleagues and schoolmates from when they worked and studied overseas," said Zhu Yinghua, head of the international collaboration and exchange division of the Shanghai Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau.

One example cited by Zhu was thermal imaging company Magnity Technologies, which was founded in 2008 at Shanghai's Caohejing Hi-tech Park by a group of returnees and graduates from elite domestic universities.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the company's visible and thermal dual cameras for fever detection have been used in countries including the United States, Italy, Japan, South Korea, and Russia, as well as at local airports and railway and metro stations.

The report also noted that many returnees are working in the municipality's pillar industries. More than 70 percent of these startups are from industries such as biomedicine, integrated circuits, artificial intelligence, equipment manufacturing, new materials, and new energy – the six core drivers behind Shanghai's industrial development.

"Such startups play a significant role in promoting industrial upgrading and the city's construction of a scientific and technological innovation center with global influence," said Zhu.

As high as 83 percent of the entrepreneurs returning from overseas held master's or doctoral degrees. More than 71 percent of them had worked overseas, of which 31 percent held senior positions and 22 percent ran their own businesses.

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