Changing laws and attitudes towards immigration in the U.S. have made it more difficult for technology companies to hire the global talent they need, much to the annoyance of those business and the people who want to move around the world to pursue their careers. But China has taken the opposite approach, making it easier for technology experts to move there.
Beijing officials announced in March that they would be offering more generous visa terms and permanent residence for the most high profile hires at its Zhongguancun Science Park. And there was one slightly more bizarre perk offered–the city will allow foreign researchers to bring along their domestic helpers. Zhongguancun is home to one of the world’s largest computer sellers, Lenovo, and hopes to become the Chinese version of Silicon Valley.
Among the more conventional enticements are giving foreign workers more freedom for cross-border travel, and allowing them to enroll in local schools. And international scientists with a permanent residency can now lead national-level projects, something that was previously reserved for Chinese nationals.
China is aiming to become a world leader in areas of technology such as artificial intelligence, big data, and virtual reality. The government is working on a plan to become a world leader in AI by 2030, and to build an industry worth nearly $150 billion, surpassing the likes of the U.S. and Europe. Major technology companies such as Tencent and Baidu are investing huge amounts of money in developing AI solutions.
Tencent has an AI lab in China and an outpost in Seattle. The company has also hired researchers to work on innovations similar to DeepMind’s AlphaGo, the Google-led program that has beaten the world’s best players at the board game Go.
Zhongguancun Science Park has 10 offices overseas setup to attract the best talent from places such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Finland, according to Reuters.