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China's new entrepreneurs head for home

(Xinhua)    13:52, June 25, 2015

ZHENGZHOU/HEFEI, June 25 -- Big money, relatively speaking, on offer to workers in China's cities has attracted millions of migrants, but Liu Yongzhen, 29, has decided to return home.

In March, Liu went back to Liucun Village in the heart of populous Henan province to open his own Internet cafe. He also applied for a loan of 50,000 yuan (8,000 U.S. dollars).

"I am not sure if I will earn more back here, but I have been away for more than ten years," he said. Working as a public toilet attendant in the city, Lui could earn 100,000 yuan a year at most.

Liu is not an exceptional case. Lots of migrant workers are shaking off their stereotype. True, many still toil under the scorching sun on construction sites or can be found dragging heavy luggage through busy stations as they move from job to job, but some have taken the government's bait and embarked on what they hope will be a journey to riches, or at least comfort and security.

They are China's newest entrepreneurs.


The State Council, China's cabinet, announced new policies on Sunday to encourage migrant workers, college graduates and discharged soldiers to return to their hometowns and start their own small businesses.

The government has promised easy business registration and will even allow them to participate in rural infrastructure development and public services that are normally the exclusive preserve of the state.

By the end of 2014, there were 270 million rural laborers in cities, but it is estimated that some 2 million migrant workers have returned home.

Reasons as why to they choose to go back can vary. For Liu Yongzhen, it was for the sake of his children. He has a 7-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son. Liu had heard plenty of tragic stories involving left-behind children, who fall easy victim to trafficking and abuse.

The recent suicide of four left-behind children in Guizhou province has alarmed many long-distance parents, some of whom may not have seen their children for years.

Liu felt sorry for his own children. "I cannot be a selfish father. I must take responsibility for my children," he said.


Liu Xue, on the other hand, went back to home to make money.

Nearing his 50s and from Suzhou in east China's Anhui Province, Liu Xue is now owner of several textile plants and employs over 300 local people.

He went home in 2008, when Suzhou began to support startups with tax exemptions, reduced administration fees and small loans.

Suzhou has 26 business incubation parks for returned migrant workers with 76 companies employing more than 9,000 people.

Migrant workers used to be attracted to labor-intensive industries in China's coastal regions like moths to a flame. Today, with rising costs and the need for industrial upgrades, the flame is flickering.

Guangdong Province, for example, announced in March that industries like automaking, textiles and construction material manufacture would be encouraged to make more use of robots on their production lines.

In Henan, the proportion of local rural people working outside the province dropped from 43.6 percent in 2013 to 39 percent last year, whereas the percentage of those working in their home counties and cities rose from 30.3 to 38.1.


These returnees are not content to simply pick up their hoes and return to the fields. Many have come back to change their hometowns for the better.

Wang Fei, 31,gave up factory work in Suzhou and returned to Henan in 2004. He is now the proud owner of a busy farm and poultry house.

While he enjoys an annual profit of 300,000 yuan, his farm and poultry house are now the practice base of a local agricultural college. Each year students, many of them returned migrants themselves, go there to learn from his experiences, as part of government training for home-comers.

Talking about the new State Council policies, Liu Yongzhen, Liu Xue and Wang are in agreement that they will help migrant workers to return to their roots without suffering financially as a result.

"Local authorities should be prepared to support more and more migrant workers returning," said Liu Xue in Anhui.

His opinion is shared by Wang Kaiyu, sociologist in Anhui who has been working on rural issues for years. "Local governments must improve schooling and medical care, so that those who wish to come home really can stay."

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Jin Chen,Gao Yinan)

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