Nov. 5 (NBD) -- "I will stay in Chengdu after my study here," Malaysian student Kaihe Huang, who is currently studying at Sichuan University, said to NBD, without hesitation.
Chengdu, capital city of southwestern China's Sichuan province, is increasingly attractive to international talents thanks to its huge development potential, industrial superiority, and favorable talent policies.
Huang deemed life in the city convenient and comfortable, adding that the social atmosphere here is active and challenging, and there are a lot of opportunities. He even began to worry about his competitiveness in the job market, as the return of more excellent overseas Chinese students weakens his language advantage.
New option for international talents
First-tier cities, namely, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, are no longer the sole option for Chinese returnees.
Data shows the net outflow rate of talents in first-tier cities was 0.6 percent in the first two months of this year, a rise of 0.05 percentage point compared with the same period of last year.
New first-tier cities are enjoying growing favor among talents.
Taking Chengdu for example, the southwestern city was among the top 3 cities most favored by Chinese returnees, shows the Report on Employment & Entrepreneurship of Chinese Returnees 2017 co-released by leading Chinese independent think tank Center for China and Globalization and career platform Zhaopin.
In addition to Chinese returnees, more and more foreign talents chose to work in Chengdu.
Keith Kendrick, an internationally renowned neuroscientist and Fellow of the Society of Biology, was introduced in Sichuan province as the first non-Chinese talent through the Thousand Talents Program in 2011 and is now serving as a full-time professor at University of Electronic Science and Technology of China.
Kendrick made a remarkable breakthrough in the 1980s by discovering the prosocial impact of oxytocin on sheep, laying a solid foundation for oxytocin's prosocial research and development in the scientific circle.
Apparently, Chengdu is increasingly appealing to a growing number of foreign talents.
Huge pool of overseas talents
To attract international talents, enhancing mutual understanding between the city and talents is indispensable.
This, on one hand, relies on exchange platforms like large-scale conferences and overseas job fairs. The 17th Western China Overseas Hi-Tech and High Talents Conference (OHTC) held in Chengdu this September is just a case in point. The conference brought together around 800 honored guests from home and abroad, including five Nobel Prize winners and representatives from 148 overseas innovative teams, strongly boosting the southwestern city's ties with overseas talents.
On the other hand, smooth channels for non-governmental exchange and education cooperation are important. That's just exactly what the Chengdu American Center for Study Abroad does. Co-founded by the Chengdu Municipal Government and New York-based education company g-MEO in 2012, the Center is the first of its kind in China that focuses on innovative study abroad programs for overseas undergraduates.
Onyx Flores from the U.S. said she had never thought of the possibility of visiting China, let alone study and work there. However, helped by the Center, she is now having an internship at a law firm in Chengdu.
Luo Shenglian, deputy director of the Chengdu American Center for Study Abroad, told NBD the Center now has more than 40 cooperating colleges and institutes and around 40 cooperating enterprises. In the past six year, approximately 470 American students came to Chengdu through the Center for study or internship.
According to Luo, many students have stayed or are prone to stay in Chengdu or other Chinese cities for further study or work after close contact with the southwestern city, while many have shared their exciting learning and working experience in Chengdu with more people.
Such education cooperation and academic exchange activities are vital to helping Chengdu create a huge pool of international talents.
City brimming with life aesthetics
Music enthusiast Jordan Character from the U.S. told NBD he is currently working on a Chinese song about Chengdu. This is the first time he has felt the urge to write a song about a city.
Chengdu is brimming with vitality of artistic creation and life aesthetics, he said. Artists he met in the city also gave him a lot of help and inspiration.
Undoubtedly, platforms like OHTC and Chengdu American Center for Study Abroad could help overseas talents get an understanding of a city, but to retain excellent talents, the city itself has to be strongly competitive.
With constantly improved business environment, Chengdu is now home to more Global 500 Companies and highly educated talents, and is getting deeply involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, Sherman Lee, CEO of Forbes China, previously said. The city is riding the wave of popularity amid China's economic transformation for its vigorous support to innovation, he noted.
In the view of Luo Shenglian, Chengdu's reputation is on the rise. The open attitudes towards international talents and multinationals further add to the city's appeal on the international arena.
In addition to the favorable studying and working environment, Chengdu is forging itself into a livable garden city. This makes it more attractive to foreign people who love the nature and take to outdoor exercises. A number of foreign students said to NBD when riding bikes with friends on Tianfu Greenway on the weekends, they have the keenest desire to live in the city for the rest of their lives.