According to the China Daily, China now has over 150 startup incubators specifically aimed at funding startups in China launched by Chinese students who have studied abroad.
Why specifically students who have studied abroad? It turns out that most of China’s most successful tech firms — the ones that are listed on the US markets — were started by Chinese students with overseas education. From the China Daily article:
The statement said that about 80 percent of Nasdaq-listed Chinese high-tech enterprises were started by students who have returned to China after studying abroad.
Moreover, about 72 percent of the project leaders of the country’s national key research projects and over half of the academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the country’s two leading scientific and technological research institutes, have international education backgrounds.
There may be another reason, though. A recent study on the overseas Chinese experience by Huaqiao University revealed that less than one third of China’s overseas students have returned home since students from China began studying abroad in 1978. China’s blazing hot economy has increased its pull in recent years — that study covered from 1978 to 2009 — but numbers are still relatively low, and given that everyone from China’s wealthy to China’s corrupt officials seems to be moving out of China, it makes sense for the country to offer some incentives for students to come back and found tech companies that can bring China profit and prestige.
The outward flow of China’s wealthy may be cause for concern for China, as is the low rate of return for overseas students who study in developed countries, but these the existence of these incubators is certainly good news to any study-abroad students who have good ideas for tech businesses. If you’re a Chinese student studying overseas right now, know this: China looks forward to welcoming you home, and if you’ve got an idea for a cool new company, there just might be a big bucket of money in it for you too!