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UPDATED: 19:34, December 17, 2004
Most Chinese students abroad wish to return home to work
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Some 87.7 percent of the Chinese scholars who study overseas are willing to return to China to work, according to a recent survey.

The one-month on-line survey, conducted by China Youth Daily from Oct. 15, polled 3,100 Chinese students studying or working abroad. The respondents, aged 29 on average, are living in 49 countries and regions worldwide, mostly developed countries.

About 34.5 percent of them say they wish to return as soon as they complete their study, and 54.1 percent say they plan to return after gaining some work experience.

Shanghai was listed as the city they most wanted to live in, followed by Beijing.

Most of the students who wish to return -- about 70 percent -- say they are encouraged by "China's booming economic development." Most of those who want to stay abroad, less than 10 percent of the total, say "sophisticated social relations" and "less sophisticated legal system" in the country kept them away.

This and the results of other similar surveys are dispelling government's worries of a brain drain, which was common years ago when a number of poor but talented young vied for comfortable life in developed countries.

Observers say the Chinese government does not deter the talented young from pursuing higher degrees abroad, but as the country develops, it is now able to lure these scholars back -- with promises of prosperity and professional challenges.

Getting a higher degree in Western countries is still considered the best way to become rich and successful in China. Observers worry that many returned scholars return only to enjoy their elevated status.

Despite the trend of talents returning, the survey shows that foreign companies are returned scholars' first choice for employment, followed by private companies, universities and institutes. Jobs on public utilities and Party organizations rank the lowest.

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