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If you’re talented and you know it, go to Beijing

From easy visa approvals to permission to bring domestic helpers, Beijing is aggressively marketing itself to foreign scientists. Source: Unsplash

The global race to attract talent never stops and China has just upped the stakes.

Beijing, the capital of China, is now offering cash incentives up to 1 million yuan (US$158,000), long-term visas and ‘green cards’ to attract talent to its municipality, the South China Morning Post reported.

While the US makes it harder for foreign graduates to work in specialty occupations on American soil, Beijing appears to be doing the opposite, according to a statement on the local government website last week.

Qualified individuals are offered entry visas valid for up to 10 years and a chance for permanent residency (a ‘green card’) which lets foreigners buy properties, cars and even sign their children up at  local schools. Cash incentives will be awarded once contractual obligations are met.

The move is seen as part of China’s grand ambition to be a leader in artificial intelligence and life sciences. Last July, China’s State Council announced plans to establish a US$150 billion domestic AI industry within the next few years. By 2030, it wants to be an “innovation centre for AI”.

Zhongguancun Science & Technology Zone is China’s answer to Silicon Valley. Source: Shutterstock

Talent is being sought elsewhere to fill and lead positions at the country’s research institutes. A Tencent report last year found there is a demand and supply mismatch as China suffers from a lack of qualified people to realise its big plans.

To attract more foreigners to its tech companies, Beijing is also offering another unusual perk to foreign researchers: allowing domestic helpers to accompany them to China even though this has usually not been allowed for local urban families.

Another bonus is the chance for foreign scientists with PR status to lead national-level innovation projects, a position previously exclusive to Chinese nationals.

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