Overseas Returnees are striving to be back to China

May 16, 2018 2 mins read
Overseas Returnees are striving to be back to China

Talents who work overseas and study for a period of time before returning to China are called “returnees" in China. The American dream has inspired many Chinese graduates choose to stay in the United States after graduation. Three magic weapons -large growth space in wages, opportunities and strong sense of belonging which are offering by China's tech giants and start-ups are quietly setting off a wave of returnees among Chinese tech workers in Silicon Valley.

In the past days, it was almost incomparably proud to get an offer from American tech giant. But it has had almost the same effect today, with local tech companies such as Tencent and Alibaba. For example, Chinese search giant Baidu has successfully persuaded AI Scientist Qi LU who was former Microsoft high level executive to become President and chief operating officer in charge of business of artificial intelligence. Nowadays, three of the world's most valuable start-up companies are based in Beijing, instead of California which is bring back the scale and creativity for Chinese Enterprises.

China's Internet sector is enjoying a high-speed bubble era, which results in that Internet companies tend to pay more than their American counterparts. For engineers who are reluctant to give up America's comfortable life, Chinese companies are moving towards them with more attractive salary structures including cash and stock ownership. According to a recent report, one Chinese start-up has offered up to $30 million in cash and stock over the next four years to hire an AI technician returnee.

In 2017, the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) and zhaopin.com which is one of the biggest recruitment website conducted a joint survey of 1,821 returnees. The results tell that the technology industry has become the biggest attraction reasons for returnees instead of the financial sector, accounting for 15.5 per cent which was only 10 percent in 2015.

Chinese in the United States with good education background is becoming the dominant force driving the global expansion of Chinese companies and China's efforts to dominate the next generation of technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. A growing number of Chinese tech workers in Silicon Valley will eventually find it wise to join a fast-growing Chinese company. Although Chinese technicians have been playing an important role in Silicon Valley, it is very difficult for them to get promoted, which is also known as Bamboo Ceiling. Now, it is the time to come back.

Marlon Mai's picture
Marlon Mai
Managing Director, Greater China