Wed, Feb 14, 2007 - Page 4 News List

China losing more talent than any other country

AFP , BEIJING

China suffers the most severe brain drain of any country, raising fears there may not be enough talent and skill around to manage the world's fourth-largest economy, state media said yesterday.

Out of about 1 million Chinese that have studied abroad since the 1980s, two-thirds have chosen to stay overseas after graduation, the highest ratio in the world, the China Daily said, citing official data.

"It has been a great loss for China," said Li Xiaoli, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the co-author of a new report on the problem.

"[China] is now in dire need of people of expertise; [it has seen] well-educated professionals leave after the country has invested a lot in them," Li said.

Since 2002, more than 100,000 students have gone abroad to study each year, but in the same period, the number of returnees has hovered between 20,000 and 30,000 a year, the newspaper said, citing Ministry of Education figures.

To a certain degree, the trend is unavoidable as it reflects China's growing integration with the outside world, it noted.

But some experts have called on the government to at least stem the tide by making the domestic job market more attractive to professionals overseas and set up incentives to facilitate their return.

There are already some preferential policies in place, such as low-interest loans for business start-ups.

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