The Economist writes about then Chinese who are coming back
In 2002, it reached almost 18,000, double the number of two years ago. That might look tiny compared with China’s vast population, but the economic and intellectual contribution from returning Chinese is great.
In a country where less than 1% of the people are enrolled in higher education, 90% of returning Chinese hold a master’s degree or a doctorate from abroad. China has the hardware, but not the software. China needs knowledge. China’s biggest challenge is human resources, says Henry Wang, a businessman and a Canadian-educated professor who is also a senior member of the Western Returned Scholars Association (whose 90th anniversary Mr Hu was celebrating).
In Beijing alone, there are now 3,300 enterprises started by returners.
It is not hard to see why the numbers returning are increasing so fast. China’s 7-8% annual growth and steady march towards capitalism has helped it to rival America as one of the best places to seek success and wealth.
The perks and a shot at becoming wealthy are not the whole story. Cultural and family ties are a draw, along with a desire to give something back to the motherland. Sometimes this is combined with a suspicion that they may have hit a glass ceiling in their adopted country.
Combined with India’s returning IT professionals, the experience, enthusiasm and technological expertise of the NRIs and NRCs have the potential to bring about great change in their respective countries. Asia is the emerging hub for the next generation of disruptive innovations and entrepreneurship.