Beijing to welcome global sci-tech companies, talent, according to municipal people's congress

China Daily Updated: 2024-01-26


This photo taken on May 26, 2023 shows new energy and intelligent connected vehicles displayed at the exhibition center of Zhongguancun national demonstration area for independent innovation in Beijing. [Photo/Xinhua]

Beijing will welcome foreign technological companies, institutions and talent to join in major scientific research projects by offering more incentives and targeted services, according to a regulation passed at the closing ceremony of the second session of the 16th Beijing Municipal People's Congress on Thursday.

The regulation, which will take effect on March 1, is the first of its kind in China, and is aimed at building the city into an international science and technology innovation center.

It extends support to international tech organizations and companies in establishing branches or research centers in Beijing, and the rules encourage foreign members to be recruited in domestic sci-tech organizations.

Foreign talent would be able to lead major scientific projects or be chief scientists. Optimized policies will help overseas talent obtain visas, work permits and residence permits. More international schools, hospitals and apartments will be built, it said.

Fu Shouqing, deputy Party secretary and chief engineer of Zhongguancun National Laboratory, said that Beijing has sent a signal that it is determined to promote technological innovation, and this will be a good example for other cities that want to do the same.

"The core of technological innovation is talent. We should provide more convenience for foreigners coming to China, offering a better legal and business environment and organizing more international academic exchange activities," said Fu, who is also a deputy to the 16th Beijing Municipal People's Congress.

He added that more foreign scientists will be welcomed to participate in the laboratory's research projects. "They can come as visiting scholars, engage in academic exchanges and become part of the team."

Beijing has 107 foreign research centers, covering fields such as medicine, health, information technology and intelligent manufacturing, data from local authorities showed.

Eight international tech organizations, including the International Society of Zoological Sciences and the International Society for Digital Earth, have set up offices at the headquarters clusters for international sci-tech organizations in Chaoyang district.

Many events were held last year focusing on topics such as chip applications, 5G vehicle networking and generative artificial intelligence.

Yi Tong, director of the Beijing Academy of Science and Technology's innovation and development strategy research institute and also a deputy to the Beijing People's Congress, said there are many groundbreaking provisions, such as supporting the establishment of international scientific journals and a points-based evaluation system for permanent residency in China.

"The regulation contributes to constructing a world-leading sci-tech country with self-reliance," she added.

Zhang Xu, president of the Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development and also a deputy to the Beijing People's Congress, said all tech centers in the world such as Tokyo, Singapore and Silicon Valley have high degree of internationalization. However, the number of headquarters of international tech organizations in China is only one-tenth of that in the United States, which is not commensurate to the technological status of the country.

"It's important to better accommodate the living and working needs of foreigners, to attract and retain them. More nongovernmental exchanges also help scientists solve common issues such as AI governance and climate change," he added.

Liang Xueqing, a board director of Beijing Borrui Data Technology and also a deputy to the Beijing People's Congress, said the company has a high demand for tech talent, and has hired professionals from the US, the United Kingdom and Singapore.

"The regulation is like a timely rain for us, solving the problems of establishing overseas institutions and recruiting international talent," she said.

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