Ningbo attracts expertise with preferential policies

Updated: 2013-08-26 07:24

By Yan Yiqi in Hangzhou (China Daily)

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Ningbo's growing international appeal is attracting expertise from almost every country in the world. This is no accident.

The city has organized a number of global events to advertise its unique attractions in both lifestyle and career opportunities.

Last year alone saw Ningbo bring 947 specialists, representing a massive 88.7 percent year-on-year increase. By the end of 2012, 3,499 overseas specialists had started 455 companies in Ningbo.

Yang Liping, director of the Ningbo Organization Department, said that this highlights the city's ambition.

"Innovation is the driving force of Ningbo's economic development, while foreign specialists help fuel the drive."

In May 2011, the city released a series of preferential policies to attract overseas expertise to start businesses in Ningbo.

For individuals who meet the criteria, the municipal government grants 1 million yuan ($163,000) as a starting fund for business. Also, tax refund policies are provided. This goes up to 20 million yuan for group projects.

Chen Qiang, deputy executive president of the Yangtze Delta Region Institute of Tsinghua University, said that the policy, compared with ones offered by other cities in China, is attractive.

Yao Qianjun is an expert in integrated circuits who was president of the Asian region of Honeywell International, a Fortune 500 company. In 2005, Yao arrived in Ningbo and established Ningbo Konfoong Materials with specialists from the United States and Japan as its core researchers.

Before the company was established, China had to import these materials. Now, the company's products are sold to companies, including IBM, Intel and Toshiba.

Last year, its sales reached 1.29 trillion yuan and it plans to go public this year.

Bao Haiming started Zhejiang Eco-Waste Technology Co in 2005 in Ningbo. A specialist in environmental management, he graduated from York University.

"The Ningbo program made me realize that our country has high expectations and it hopes overseas graduates like me can establish some strategic industries," Bao said.

Bao's company, focusing on waste incineration, developed rapidly and revenue soon hit 80 million yuan. It planned to go public by 2015. "The waste incineration field has a bright future. The opportunity in Ningbo is incredible," he said.

Instead of sitting and waiting for expertise to come to Ningbo, the city is active in promoting its programs. Promotional activities are regularly held in countries including the US and Germany.

Yang said the first step of introducing Ningbo to foreign expertise is to let them feel the sincerity of the city.

"We want them to feel that coming to Ningbo is a good choice to take care of both their careers and their lives. So we are establishing a home, house, health system to support them," he said.

(China Daily USA 08/26/2013 page5)