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August 7, 2012

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Major city incentives to draw entrepreneurs

SHANGHAI launched an entrepreneurial park for professionals returned from overseas in the Fengxian District yesterday to woo international talent, officials said yesterday.

A 100 million yuan (US$15.7 million) fund has been created to help overseas returnees to set up business in the 13.8-square-kilometer park. Qualified professionals who set up companies in the park can use office space of less than 500 square meters or a production area of no more than 1,000 square meters at no cost for three years.

They also will receive a subsidy of up to 2 million yuan if they purchase houses in the district. Or they can enjoy a 100-square-meter apartment provided free for the first three years.

Employees working in the park can also get up to a 800-yuan monthly apartment rent subsidy depending on educational background and skill certificates.

The first group of six companies signed cooperation agreements with the park yesterday. More than 20 are in the works.

Yao Lijun, director of a semiconductor materials firm that is one of the first six programs, said the preferential policy and Shanghai's overall attractive environment, including a good-quality education for kids, led him to the set up a company in the park.

He had set up a company in Zhejiang Province after returning to the country in 2005 from Japan with a doctorate but he ran into expansion problems due to the high price of land.

Lured by Shanghai's policy, he set up a production base in the park. Construction of the production site will cost 720 million yuan and the sales are expected to reach 1 billion yuan annually.

Yao is one of the country's 2,000-plus high-end professionals in the Thousand Talent Program, the national government's initiative to attract experts under 55 with doctorates from foreign universities.

The park aims to provide support to professionals like Yao recognized in the national talent or local talent programs.

The city has lured a lot of overseas professionals - 81,000 expat professionals and 95,000 overseas returnees, including 340 professionals recognized in the Thousand Talent Program.

"The city is still in urgent need of entrepreneurial talents and professionals specialized in finance, shipping and commerce," said Wang Yu, deputy director of the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China's Shanghai Municipal Committee.

Among the 340 nationally recognized talents, only 14 percent start their own business and most of the professionals work in universities and research institutes. But in nearby Jiangsu Province, the proportion of entrepreneurial talents accounted for 55 percent of the total.

The programs were announced yesterday at opening ceremonies of the International Talents Innovation and Entrepreneurship Week of Shanghai.


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