Will ‘dynamic zero-COVID’ affect China’s attraction to global talent?

(Global Times) 08:58, July 19, 2022

China's big metropolises including Beijing and Shanghai are returning to a normal pace of life, which once again proves the efficacy of China's dynamic zero-COVID strategy, but some foreign media outlets have an inertia and have continuously used China's dynamic zero-COVID strategy as a target for attack to hype the groundless China collapse theories.

The Financial Times on Sunday reported that China's dynamic zero-COVID strategy has had a major impact on the country's economy, and in particular, "the impact on China's stock of global talent has been severe." Cross-border flow of people has decreased significantly, with the number of overseas trips made by foreign nationals last year fell to an unprecedentedly low level.

As the COVID-19 virus spreads throughout the world, the movement of people across borders has suffered big blow. A decline in international visitors is a fact, which makes it indeed more difficult for China to attract global talent. How can China hold on to its brightest young talent? It is worth thinking about. We believe China will exhaust all means to utilize global talent, improve work permit and visa systems, making it more convenient for foreign talent to work and live in China.

It should be noticed that a decline in international visitors doesn't mean China has lost its appeal to foreign talent. The most important fundamental factor behind China's attraction to foreign talent is a rapid economic growth in the country and great career opportunities offered by economic development.

China's economy has showed improvement in June as the pandemic comes under control. On the contrary, the risks of the US and Europe sliding into recession have picked up. A comparison of economic development between China and the West emphasize the attractiveness of China as a destination for those looking to start and boost their careers.

Several Western media outlets have in recent weeks published articles saying that a growing number of global talents plan to leave China thanks to the country's anti-pandemic measures. However, one factor ignored is that after they return to their home countries, whether they can find a satisfactory job, and if not, we believe most of them may choose to go back to China in the future.

China's inbound foreign investment will be a wind vane of its attraction to foreign talent. The latest data released by the Ministry of Commerce shows that China's actual use of foreign capital surged by 17.3 percent year-on-year to 564.2 billion yuan ($83.8 billion) in the first five months of the year. Although some Western media outlets claimed foreign investors are fleeing China, the figure displays genuine intentions and choices of foreign companies. The surge in foreign investment is expected to encourage more global talent to work and live in China.

As China's share in the global economy continues to rise, industrial development not only cultivates a number of world leading top enterprises, but also provides internationally competitive salaries for excellent talents. A survey by recruitment platform Zhilian Zhaopin showed that China welcomed the largest ever influx of overseas returnees in 2021. International students are more willing to return home, and among those students, 62.2 percent consider that epidemic prevention and control effect is better in China, an increase of about 6 percentage points compared with 2020, according to media reports.

The other side of the coin is that the graduates of 2022 face multiple employment pressures. Some 10.76 million Chinese students leave college campuses this summer, an increase of 1.67 million year-on-year, hitting a new record high. Finding employment in the current job market is highly competitive. To get hired in the competitive job market, global talent must prove their ability. If they are hesitant or leave China, their positions will be replaced by competitors soon.

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Hongyu)


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