Being able to study and work abroad was once a dream for many Chinese students. Now the trend has been reversed as more and more students who went abroad to study have returned home to start careers.
The Report on Employment & Entrepreneurship of Chinese Returnees 2017, released recently by the Center for China and Globalization (CCG), a major Chinese think tank based in Beijing, revealed that in 2016 alone a total of 432,500 foreign-educated Chinese returned from abroad, an increase of 58.48 percent from that in 2012. The number of returnees will continue growing in 2017. For the first time, China will see the number of returnees surpass that of students going abroad, according to predictions by the Ministry of Education.
Overseas returnees have been important drivers of China's development. The Chinese Government always supports students studying abroad and encourages them to come back after graduation. In the past, overseas-educated Chinese would prioritize starting their careers abroad. But now the situation is changing along with the burgeoning vitality of the Chinese economy and growing opportunities.
Over the past five years, China has adopted a series of favorable policies for overseas returnees, offering more support for their scientific research or start-up businesses in China. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in late 2012, the country has taken steps to strengthen intellectual resources which are a pillar of national competitiveness. A number of national programs have been launched, including the Thousand Talents Plan, a widely known recruitment program for innovative talents, and the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars of China that aims at fostering young scientists. The benefits for overseas-educated returnees also include project incubators, funds, tax cuts, settle-down allowance and so on. For many researchers and graduates, these are quite appealing.
China has devoted over 180 million yuan ($27.56 million) to fund as many as 2,268 overseas returnees for their research and business endeavors since the 18th CPC National Congress, according to statistics from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.
Furthermore, overseas-educated graduates can enjoy the same benefits as domestic university graduates get in terms of applying for a job or setting up a company, such as training and guaranteed loans. With the support, overseas returnees can concentrate on their research without concerns.