10th Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum for Chinese Returnees

January 19 , 2021

New Ideas and New Trends for Entrepreneurship in China

On August 16th, Beijing witnessed the opening of the 10th Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum for Chinese Returnees, which was jointly put on by the Western Returned Scholar Association (WRSA), Chinese Overseas-Educated Scholars Association (COESA), and Center for China & Globalization (CCG). Organized around the theme of “Public Innovation & Entrepreneurship” for this year, the annual conference collects new methodologies and experiences of innovation and entrepreneurship offered by returnee scholars and examined major trends arising from this arena. All the insights and suggestions will be eventually compiled in policy advisory reports to be distributed to relevant government departments and agencies.

In the past decade, the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum for Chinese Returnees has emerged as an up-scale platform for elite returnee scholars to build connections and exchange ideas for new opportunities and partnerships. As usual, the conference brought together over 500 returnees, including top-flight scholars, high level business executives, and senior government officials.Chen Zhu, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, Liu Limin, the Vice Minister of Education, China, Li Zhuobin, the Vice Chairman of All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese, Liu Yanguo, the Deputy Director of State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, Wang Yongqing, Director General of the 6th Bureau of the United Front Work Department of CPC Central Committee, Sun Jianli, Director General, Department of Administration of Professionals of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS), Wang Huiyao, Vice Chairman of China Western Returned Scholars Association (WRSA), And Zhang Xuejun, General Secretary of WRSA, attended the forum, delivered remarks on the opening ceremony.

New Chapter for Innovation &Entrepreneurship by Returnee Scholars

By the end of 2014, the number of Chinese studying abroad had exceeded 3.5 million. The number of overseas returnees reached 1.8 million, including 364,800 in 2014 alone, over 30 times more than in 2001. This trend has received much attention from the central government and provided the impetus for devising more talent recruitment policies targeting overseas returnees.

Against this backdrop, the 10thForum was focused on the discussion about how overseas returnees can leverage their unique skills and strengths into helping China build an innovation-driven state, implement its “One Belt, One Road” strategy, carry out civil diplomacy activities, and start a new chapter for their own innovation and entrepreneurship.

It was followed by five sub-sessions, focusing on career opportunities for returnees in China, comparative studies on the strengths and competitiveness of returnees, “Internet +” and innovation & entrepreneurship by returnees, public services for returnees, and innovation by new generations of returnees, respectively.

Another highlight of the forum was the release of the Chinese Returnee Employment and Entrepreneurship Report 2015.  This report was done jointly by CCG and Zhaopin.com, one of China’s most important and respected high-end online talent recruitment platforms.

New Opportunities and Paths for Chinese Returnees’ Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The 1st sub-session was focused on innovation as a driving force for the career development of Chinese returnees and growth of China’s competitiveness.   The discussion was moderated by CCG President Dr. Wang Huiyao.

The speakers shared their perspectives on how Chinese returnees can use the skills and advantages gained abroad in working to build a new model of a Chinese state driven by innovation and implementing cutting-edge initiatives like “One Belt, One Road” to boost the soft power of China and its role in global economic governance.  Guo Sheng noted the positive developments in the employment prospects of Chinese returnees back home, especially in the first-tier cities. However, he added that returnees still need time to get themselves totally accustomed to the new job and entrepreneurial environment.

The 2nd sub-session, hosted by CCG’s Vice President Dr. Tang Min, focused the discussion on Chinese returnees’ skills and competiveness.

Besides looking into the changing trends in the competitiveness of returnees on the job market over time, the speakers also shared their observation and analysis regarding current situation with respect to finding work and major requirements for talent skills.

The Internet era has witnessed the emergence of a large number of start-up companies. Public innovation and entrepreneurship has been identified as one of the two engines for China’s economic transformation and growth. The “Internet +” scheme has ignited the passion and ambition of many Chinese returnees to launch their own businesses, which also inspired the forum to dedicate the 3rdsession to the topic “’Internet +’ Plus and Chinese returnees’ Innovation & Entrepreneurship.” Introduced by CCG Vice President Frances Sun, several returnee entrepreneurs shared their best practices on how to grasp timely opportunities and optimize their strength in launching business startups.

The Chinese government has adopted multiple policies to simplify administrative procedures and delegate its power to improve the policy environment and facilitate entrepreneurship for Chinese returnees. In light of this new development, the 4th sub-session was designed to further examine how the central and local governments can improve their services to boost public innovation and entrepreneurship. Hosted by the Director of CCG’s Southern Talent Institute Dr. Chen Liang.

The 5th sub-session was dedicated to the discussion about innovation and entrepreneurship by new generations of Chinese returnees. Moderated by CCG Secretary General Dr. Mable Miao Lu, the panel gathered a number of outstanding young returnees to share their entrepreneurship experiences as references for overseas Chinese students born in the 1980s and 1990s.

“Banquet for Thought Collision” among Chinese Returnees

Over the past nine years, the Forum has achieved widely-recognized successes, each year bringing together thousands of Chinese returnees and students from abroad. Crowned with the title of “a banquet for thought collision,” it is known as a high-level platform for Chinese talent at home or abroad to build connections and exchange their ideas. It is also a great venue where they can obtain new information regarding policies and services for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Dr. Wang Huiyao said in his presentation at the 2015 forum that Chinese returnees, due to their access to international networks and capital and global perspectives, have abundant resources for innovation and entrepreneurship and will become a major force for China’s development.They can serve as a bridge that bonds domestic and international resources to boost China’s future innovation. Therefore, the Chinese government is committed to supporting Chinese returnees as a core part of its global talent strategy and innovation promotion scheme to enhance its leading role in globalization.