An employee seals a stack of yuan banknotes at a branch of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in Huaibei, Anhui province on April 6, 2011. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)
China has long acknowledged that it has a problem with its best and brightest leaving the country to study and not returning. According to the Chinese Ministry of Education, only around a quarter of the 1.4 million Chinese students and scholars who have left the country since it opened up to the outside world in the late 1970s have returned. Now with its rapidly growing GDP and burgeoning state coffers, Beijing is in a position to try to turn the situation around. In 2008, it launched its “1000 Talents Program” designed to bring top notch global talent to China. By providing strong financial and research incentives to the some of the world’s leading lights scholars, the program has had some notable successes. It is too early to tell, however, how well these returnees—or foreign talent—will be able to adapt their talents from abroad to the political culture that many of them fled a decade or more ago.
Having made a head-start in addressing one of its problems of human capital, Beijing must now gird itself to address another. Even as China seems to be importing back its top academic talent, it appears to be on the brink of losing its top wealth-making talent. Read more »