Beijing Wants Foreign Talent to Flock to Its Silicon Valley

The Chinese capital hopes to attract top flight STEM talent to its Zhongguancun Science Park with new visa concessions and incentives for foreign nationals.

The Beijing municipal government has announced that foreign personnel at the science park will enjoy more accommodating visa conditions, as well as improved access to permanent residence certificates.

The Chinese authorities will also permit foreign nationals with permanent residence certificates to serve as the heads of state-level innovation projects, or legal representatives for new scientific research institutions.

Beijing hopes in particular to attract top-tier talent in the fields of artificial intelligence and super-computing.

China has ambitions to become a world leader in STEM research and development, focusing in particular upon emerging or fast-advancing fields such as artificial intelligence and big data.

Chinese R&D spending surged by 14% in 2017 to hit 2.1% of national GDP, while Beijing recently announced that it will build a 13.8 billion yuan (USD$2.1 billion) research facility in the Mentougou district of western Beijing that will be dedicated to AI development.

According to Liu Minhua, head of the talent management division of the Beijing branch of the Chinese Communist Party, human resource limitations remain a major impediment to these ambitions.

“Z-Park only has over 10,000 foreign hires,” said Liu to Reuters. “In Silicon Valley, a third of the population comprises tech talent from all over the world.”

In January Beijing announced that it would provide new 10-year visas to high-end overseas talent, in a bid to attract as many as 50,000 new overseas experts in key fields.

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