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China's 'Silicon Valley' to better serve foreigners

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-09-21 09:17

BEIJING - Administrators of Zhongguancun, known as China's Silicon Valley, will improve services for foreigners in a bid to woo overseas talent.

A service counter was set up on Wednesday to offer services that include consultation on favorable polices targeting foreign talent and support foreign entrepreneurs with company registration, taxation, employment, intellectual property and financing, according to the high-tech hub's management committee.

Beijing has hoped to attract more talented foreigners since it eased permanent-residence requirements in 2016 to meet its ambition to become "an innovation center of science and technology with global clout."

Twenty measures took effect on March 1, 2016, mainly targeting managerial-level professionals, Chinese born abroad, entrepreneurs and newly-graduated foreign students.

Many foreigners in Zhongguancun lack knowledge of supportive polices for startups and spend much time obtaining licenses, according to a committee spokesperson.

Tommaso Camponeschi came to the counter to inquire about the permanent residence policy.

"I want to know how to settle down in Beijing," said the 20-something Italian.

Zhongguancun has offered permanent-residence certificates to 258 foreigners since 2016, while cutting waiting time from 180 working days to 50.

Along with his Italian business partner, Camponeschi started a company in Beijing two years ago, introducing startup projects from China to Italy and vice versa. It has an office in Zhongguancun.

Camponeschi said the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games sparked his curiosity about China. Later, he learned Chinese in a university in Rome and then studied and worked in China.

"During our time in Beijing, we see startups developing rapidly. Services supporting them are precise and useful," said Camponeschi's partner Jacopo Maria Bettinelli.

Camponeschi believes Zhongguancun is on par with Silicon Valley in many aspects, but that the latter has a more international environment where foreigners can better fit in.

Bettinelli said he hoped Zhonguancun would provide more specific help to international startups, for example, multilingual versions of written interpretations of policies.

"We'll stay in China, for sure," Camponeschi said.

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