Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, officially announced that it is promoting three major projects to attract college graduates. One of them is assisting such young people to buy homes at a 20-percent discount.
It's good to see second-tier cities competing for talents. College graduates will help to boost their innovation and competitiveness. However, in the market economy, how can Wuhan manage to provide cheaper houses to these graduates? If the local government provides subsidies for them, then it's unfair to other residents.
Nanjing, capital of eastern Jiangsu Province, has also worked out a series of favorable policies targeting college graduates, such as giving them a local hukou, which is the mandatory local registration document, cheaper houses and even money. However, will these policies really attract talents to second-tier cities?
Despite high housing prices and long daily commutes everyday, many young people still feel more comfortable living in Beijing. Unlike in smaller cities, where who you know impacts daily life so much, in big cities people have access to equal opportunities and fair government services.
Therefore, even if second-tier cities attract some talents through material incentives, it's a big question whether they will manage to retain them for long. It's thus important for local governments to improve the "software" of their cities, such as improving government services, creating a good environment for industrial innovation, and providing a good cultural environment.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in Qianjiang Evening News on August 28)