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Overseas Chinese return to start up businesses

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Overseas Chinese return to start up businesses

December 27
20:23 2021

The 2021 Convention on Exchange of Overseas Talents and the 23rd Guangzhou Convention of Overseas Chinese Scholars in Science and Technology (hereinafter referred to as “OCS 2021”), which was hosted by the Ministry of Education, Western Returned Scholars Association (Overseas-educated Scholars Association of China), and Guangzhou Municipal People’s Government, was held on December 17.

Yan Guangmei, former vice-president of Sun Yat-sen University, has had a career committed to pharmacological research, and after studying and working abroad for years, he finally made the decision to return to Guangzhou.

Yan studied and worked abroad in the United States from 1991 to 1996. During that time, his wife and children adapted to American life and their income was good. However, in 1996, he made up his mind to return to the university and serve as vice-president.

“Before I went abroad, I already knew I was going to come back,” Yan said, adding that he even packed up a set of Chinese primary school textbooks for his children when he left.

Before going abroad, he was an associate professor at Sun Yat-sen University of Medical Sciences. He revisited the university when he came back to visit his family.

“The university was at a low ebb at the time. As I graduated from this university, I have an attachment to it. I promised to the school leaders that I would come back,” Yan said.

After his return, he tried to help out students abroad who wanted to come back, in a bid to encourage more talent to settle down in Guangzhou.

In 1998, the first Convention of Overseas Chinese Scholars in Science and Technology took place in Guangzhou. It blazed a trail in introducing overseas scholars to China for entrepreneurship on a large scale.

The activities attracted a number of talents, among which many were engaged in academic research and had become well-known professors and academicians.

“I feel that the environment for entrepreneurship has improved. For example, the development of new drugs requires the cooperation of other disciplines and industries. You could not find a partner before, but now in Guangzhou, especially in the Guangzhou Development District, this is no longer the case,” Yan said.

Zhou Zhen participated in the Guangzhou Convention of Overseas Chinese Scholars in Science and Technology in 2002 and now he is the chairman of Guangzhou Hexin Instrument.

Back in 2004 when he returned to China and set up his business, there were far more difficulties than now, Zhou said, and there was little venture capital and angel investment at that time. The scientific instruments they were developing were strange to people.

Zhou cherished the office rental discounts and the entrepreneurial environment in Guangzhou, enjoying a two-year rent-free policy for the 2,000 square-meter work space.

“We were operating at a loss from 2004 to 2014, but we were able to survive,” Zhou said.

“I think our company’s efforts are far from enough. China requires a wealth of scholars who make high-end scientific instruments. More channels are available now.

“The Convention on Exchange of Overseas Talents gradually has become a benchmark,” Zhou added.

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