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Why are Chinese cities fighting for talent?

  (May 31, 2018)

BEIJING, May 31, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- A news report by on the fierce "battle for talent" in China:

In the past year, many large- and medium-sized Chinese cities have been engaging in a fierce "battle for talent." They are offering discounts on housing purchases, favorable treatment on housing rentals, plus cash incentives and business start-up subsidies, amid other preferential policies, all to attract professionals to settle down and work in the city. Particular attention is being given to those with advanced professional qualifications, special skills or business start-up plans. Foreign expats have also been targeted. Recently, a tourist reportedly decided on a whim to move to Xi'an city in northwest China's Shaanxi province, and was able to complete all residency registration procedures immediately on-site.

Xi'an's efforts have produced rapid effects. In the first quarter of this year, approximately 244,900 people from the other parts of China registered as permanent residents here. The city's migration-driven population growth was 11.5 times greater than that in the first quarter of 2017. Of the people moving to Xi'an, 54 percent received residency permits as professionals or because they have an education background of junior college or above. Similarly, in Wuhan city, in the central province of Hubei, nearly 100,000 college graduates have chosen to start work or start their own business in the city in the first quarter this year.

This explains why these metropolises, with population of tens of millions of people already, are vying for even more. Human resources, after all, are the primary resource, the primary capital and the primary driving force for growth. As the Chinese economy shifts from high-speed to high-quality development, many Chinese cities are seeking new opportunities. For instance, Guiyang city in southwest China's Guizhou province used to lag behind many other cities because of its location in the Chinese hinterland. However, it has recently gained fame as "the city of cloud computing." Guiyang has made impressive achievements due to its addition of new talent. Alongside the pressure for city development, the challenges that come with aging populations make many Chinese cities anxious to attract a younger demographic to keep the city dynamic.

It is essential to bringing out the best in professionals. The road map to industrial development and strategy for personnel placement both determine the level of personal development that professionals can achieve in a given city, as well as how much value they can create. A favorable climate enables people to further improve themselves, while an unfavorable one hinders them from realizing their potential.

Equally important is the retention of professionals. Only cities with quality public services, a positive business atmosphere, attractive cultural and natural environmental features, and excellent inclusiveness can manage to keep professionals for the long-term.

In fact, this "battle for talent" is not unique to China. Many cities in other countries are also competing to attract professionals. The American city of Buffalo, for example, once a "Rust Belt city," has attracted a multitude of talented people by offering housing assistance, tax relief and a recreational area along a converted canal. And it is those new people that have revitalized and transformed the city.

In addition to the ambitious initiatives brought forth in the "battle for talent," sober-headed decisions, reasonable policies and genuine services are also needed to attract and retain new professionals. Only when the development of a city and its residents reinforce each other, can the city achieve transformation and allow the best qualities of its people to shine through.

China Mosaic
Why are Chinese cities fighting for talent?


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