Overseas Chinese students return home to seek entrepreneurship

By Ma Jingjing in Guiyang Source:Global Times Published: 2018/7/9 17:13:39

Overseas Chinese students return to seek entrepreneurship

A car drives past a building in the new high-tech area in Guiyang, capital of Southwest China's Guizhou Province on June 29. Photo: Ma Jingjing/GT


Driven by abundant opportunities and China's economic transformation, Chinese students who studied overseas now tend to return home after graduation to start their businesses.

Du Heng, 40, who worked as an internet engineer in a bank in Australia for 10 years, never thought that he would start a business in Guiyang, Southwest China's Guizhou Province until the day he attended a roadshow where Guiyang officials announced the city's big data development strategy.

"The local government's strong support and favorable policies for talent attracted us to settle down here," Du said.

In May 2015, Du and five of his friends came back from Australia to establish Golden Stand Financial Technology, which processes data for financial institutions to help them develop financial products.

In less than three months, their company was established in Guiyang's new high-tech area.

Du noted that the area offers support for start-ups in 10 aspects, including rent subsidies, cloud services and initial funds, helping them to focus on their projects.

"Our office in High Tech No.1 Building in the high-tech zone is rent-free, and the government also offers some capital as a launch fund."

The company developed fast and has served over 20 financial institutions such as the Bank of Guizhou, JD Finance and China Merchants Securities.

Local newspaper Guiyang Daily reported on June 27 that an entrepreneurship park in the area has attracted more than 100 Chinese overseas students to start businesses since February 2010.

Abundant opportunities

Along with the rapid development of China's internet sector, traditional internet plus sectors are creating new business models, bringing about more opportunities for overseas Chinese students who have international views, language advantages and accomplished cross-culture communication.

Most entrepreneurs who return from overseas believe now is a good time to start businesses in China, and a gauge of their satisfaction toward the country's support for entrepreneurship has reached 81.1, according to a report released at the 2017 Communication on Exchange of Overseas Talents event held in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province in December. The scoring for this report was based on a 0 to 100 scale, with higher numbers meaning higher satisfaction. 

"Domestic economic development, including market expansion, increasingly improves infrastructure and the business environment, giving confidence to these entrepreneurs," Fu Zhengping, a management professor at Zhongshan University, told the Global Times on Saturday.

As global economic growth has shown signs of slowing and as countries like the US and the UK have been limiting the issuance of working visas, an increasing number of overseas Chinese students are deciding to return home and set up companies, he noted.

Over 40 percent of domestic entrepreneurs returning from overseas are engaged in high-tech and information industries.

Meanwhile, many others - seizing the opportunities deriving from China's economic transformation and consumption upgrades - start businesses in the finance, education and other service sectors, said Yang Yu, operations director of the International Relations and Social Development Division of Beijing-based consultancy Horizon Idataway.

In November 2014, China announced the establishment of a record-keeping system of asset-backed securitization, replacing administrative approval mechanisms.

"This reform brings about historical opportunity to the sector and we realize it's time for us to open our own businesses," Du said.

Difficulties encountered

Because of high operation costs, funding difficulties as well as a lack of knowledge on the domestic market, some entrepreneurs who returned from overseas have countered substantial trouble, and failures can be seen everywhere, Yang said.

"Although many local governments have rolled out a series of policies supporting entrepreneurs who returned from overseas, most of them tend to favor high-level talent. Obstacles hindering the implementation of these policies further sap entrepreneurs' enthusiasm," Fu noted.

Over 90 percent of these entrepreneurs' capitals are their bank savings or borrowed from friends and relatives, Fu said, noting that funding channels such as bank loans and venture capital are insufficient.

He suggested that improvements need to be made in terms of incubation mechanisms, capital guarantee as well as supportive services so as to help entrepreneurs who could play a significant role in China's economic transformation.

Newspaper headline: Home is where the business is


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