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Preferential policies lure returnee entrepreneurs

By Zhang Yue | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-09 08:21

Government policies helped as his company was taking shape. Zhou received more than 2 million yuan in subsidies from the central government and the Beijing municipal government, while the government of Haidian district helped by offering him a lower rent for his business premises.

Prime location

Unlike many young entrepreneurs, when 33-year-old Zhang Yunfei started his business, in 2010, he chose to locate the company in Zhuhai, a coastal city in South China's Guangdong province.

Zhang, who has a master's in mechanical engineering from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, chose Zhuhai for three reasons: lower costs; the financial incentives provided by the local government; and location, because his work concentrated on the research and development of unmanned surface vessels and submarines.

"The incentives are not as mature as other countries', but government support is growing rapidly compared with other countries, especially support for science-tech innovation businesses," said the founder of Zhuhai Yunzhou Intelligence.

In April, the State Council, China's Cabinet, issued guidelines about comprehensive support for returnee startups. At present, about 350 entrepreneur parks around the country house 27,000 companies and 79,000 returnees.

'Pace and people'

Pierre Bi cofounded Aeris Cleantec, which makes "next-generation" residential air conditioners, in Beijing last year. He thinks young entrepreneurs are attracted to China because of "the pace and the people".

"Europe is too comfortable. Most people avoid challenges because they want a steady career path," said the 20-something Swiss citizen, whose father hails from the Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

"Right now, it's summer in Europe, so nothing is really moving. Here, people are aware of what it means to work with a startup, which means long hours and great uncertainty."

His business partner, Liu Shuo, a 34-year-old Chinese, used to work for a Belgian brewing company.

The pair met overseas and then decided to move to Beijing because they believed their fledgling company would have a great future in the capital.

"China is moving away from traditional economic drivers to consumption-led businesses with a strong focus on entertainment and health. I am pretty confident that the shift will continue," Bi said.

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