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China working hard to lure foreign experts

2012-02-13 09:42 Xinhua     Web Editor: Xu Aqing comment

The government plans to introduce 500 to 1,000 high-end non-Chinese foreign professionals from other countries in 10 years to spur innovation and promote scientific research.

The One Thousand Foreign Experts Project, launched late last year, has attracted 214 candidates from countries including the United States, Japan and Germany, said Yi Fanping, deputy director of a work team under the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs that oversees the project, over the weekend.

The first application phase of the project started in November after requests were submitted from 214 universities, scientific research institutions and corporate units nationwide that seek foreign talent, according to Yi.

Potential employers are asked to make an initial deal with candidates and then apply for the project.

The project awards each foreign professional a subsidy of up to 1 million yuan ($159,000) from the central government and scientific researchers can get a 3 million yuan to 5 million yuan research allowance.

The professionals are also entitled to favorable visa, taxation and wage, residence, medical care and insurance policies.

According to the project's eligibility criteria, employers should be universities, scientific institutions, Chinese-invested enterprises or joint ventures in which Chinese investors have a more than 50 percent stake.

The targeted foreign professionals include professors at prestigious universities and scientific research institutions as well as senior technology and management professionals at world-renowned corporations or financial institutions. The program also seeks those who control intellectual property rights to master core technology and those with overseas experience in starting and running businesses and other skill sets China urgently needs.

Candidates must be non-Chinese, under the age of 65 and currently not employed full time in China. However, those already working in China can still apply for the project if they started their current job fewer than six months before each application phase of the project ends.

The second round of applications started on Friday and will close on March 12.

The project also requires foreign experts to work no fewer than three consecutive years and spend at least nine months a year in China.

"Central authorities will organize 40 experts to check each candidate's qualifications, including their achievements and influence in his or her field as well as each potential employer's expectations of the person it wants to hire and the work conditions it provides. Special meetings using video teleconferencing will also be held to see if individual candidates can really meet employers' demands," said Yi.

Yi did not reveal the date that the first meetings will be held.

"We will also work out measures to deal with any emergency that could happen, such as the illness or sudden death of a foreign expert," he said.

Many corporations in Beijing have expressed their desire to hire high-end professionals from overseas to give a shot in the arm to their business.

"My company already has an expert from Germany. We plan to introduce two to three experts from the United States or Japan this year through the project because experts from those countries are leading in the industry," said Ye Jing, a human resources manager with Pulead Technology Industry Co, a new material and new energy developer.

Chen Bei, deputy director of the Beijing municipal bureau of human resources and social security, said they are designing a website that will provide positions offered by employers to better implement the project.

"Currently, an employer is on its own when seeking high-end foreign talent, which is not very efficient. In the future, we will provide a platform that can ensure better interaction and matches between employers and foreign experts," she said.

Chen said her organization will also meet with Beijing's high-tech companies to introduce the project to them and help them better develop in order to facilitate innovation and promote upgrades to the city's industrial infrastructure.

More than 40,000 foreign experts - mainly senior technology and management personnel in fields such as education, scientific research, manufacturing and health - come to work in Beijing every year, Chen said.

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