Hangzhou upping its global status

By CAO CHEN/MA CHI/SHI XIAOFENG | China Daily | Updated: 2018-03-05 16:43

Hangzhou has rolled out a new wave of policies to attract and retain international talent, as the eastern Chinese city seeks to emulate better-known metropolises such as Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

Foreign professionals working in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province, will benefit from favorable policies in applying for permanent residence, entry-exit visas and temporary residence permits, city officials said on Wednesday.

Entrepreneurs from overseas who introduce projects compatible with the city’s long-term industrial vision may be eligible for subsidies of up to 5 million yuan ($788,000), with the maximum subsidy capped at 100 million yuan for projects deemed especially meritorious.

In addition, an international entrepreneurship park will be established, with qualified entrepreneurs eligible for startup subsidies of up to 5 million yuan. Important technological projects may receive up to 3 million yuan in direct funding and tax benefits.

For foreigners who choose to work in China, master’s degree holders may receive a one-time rent subsidy of 20,000 yuan and PhD holders could get 30,000 yuan. Those working at postdoctoral research institutes are entitled to an additional 20,000 yuan subsidy.

The city also plans to build more facilities to meet the demands of foreign workers. By 2022, 10 schools for the children of foreigners will be established, and residential communities attractive to foreigners will dot the city.

In addition to tapping overseas talent, the new policy in Hangzhou aims to develop domestic resources. The city is encouraging talented residents to attend global skills competitions, and will award up to 500,000 yuan to prizewinners.

To cultivate domestic talent with globally recognized skills, Hangzhou will publish a catalog of guidelines for qualification certificates in fields such as finance, taxes, law and equipment manufacturing, and will award qualified certificate holders a 20,000 yuan subsidy.

Hangzhou has been selected as one of China’s top 10 most attractive cities by foreigners for seven consecutive years. Since 2015, the city has offered policy support to attract and retain talent for innovation and entrepreneurship.

So far, the city has drawn 29,000 high-level Chinese graduates returning from overseas studies, as well as 15,000 high-level foreign employees. More than 4,900 companies have been registered by foreign entrepreneurs.

Lucas Rondez, an entrepreneur from Switzerland, said his company has benefited from Hangzhou’s policies.

“We have enjoyed various subsidies as well as open financing policies since the start of my business in 2015,” he said. “The city offers good entrepreneurial opportunities and capital, which attracts more international talent and companies.”

His company has helped more than 100 foreign enterprises settle in China.

“More foreigners are looking at starting businesses in China than in past years because of the policies,” Rondez said. “As a rising international city, Hangzhou is constantly improving with the support of the government and numerous entrepreneurs’ efforts to explore more business models.”

Tim and Samantha Clancy, an Australian couple who have worked on Sino-Australian cultural communication for seven years, see the city as a place where they can energetically pursue their careers and still walk peacefully around the city’s famed West Lake. They applauded the policies but suggested that the government should publicize them more.

Knowing the policies exist is not enough. Understanding how to make good use of them is more important, Tim Clancy said.

Ma Chi and Shi Xiaofeng contributed to this story.

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