China today

Shenzhen joins competition for top talent, using hukou as a lure

2018-06-14 09:46:00 (Beijing Time)         Chinadaily.com.cn

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The southern metropolis of Shenzhen has joined other cities in a fierce competition to attract talent by simplifying the procedure for university graduates to obtain local household registration, known as hukou.

Under new employment rules, graduates will be able to submit applications online by uploading their education certificates and personal information instead of going to human resource offices in person, according to a recent announcement by the local government.

The computer system will check the documents' authenticity and applicants' qualifications, and then provide examination results within a few minutes. The work was previously done manually by employees, taking weeks or even months.

The new system aims to further improve the examination process for university graduates and deal with their hukou matters, enhancing work efficiency and increasing Shenzhen's attractiveness for talent, the announcement said.

Graduates will also be allowed to apply for Shenzhen hukou on their own, instead of having to apply through an agency.

The city said it will enhance data sharing between departments to provide more convenience to applicants.

The move is Shenzhen's latest effort to attract talent as it strives to build itself into an international innovation hub.

This month, the city's housing authorities released a document on deepening housing system reform. According to the document, Shenzhen will build 1.7 million units of housing by 2035, more than half of which will be designated for talented workers, affordable commercial housing and public rental housing.

No less than 60 percent of newly released residential land will be designated for the housing starting this year, it said.

Shenzhen's home prices are among the highest in China. According to Centerline Property, the average price for a new home in May was 54,111 yuan ($8,445) per square meter, down just 58 yuan from April in the wake of tight purchasing and loan restrictions. Some experts are worried that the city's skyrocketing home prices could lead to the exodus of talent.

Bai Ping, a researcher at the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences, said the introduction of the new hukou policy is an effective way for Shenzhen to retain and attract talent, given the high cost of living in the city.

"For many fresh graduates, the primary issue is the hukou because the document is closely related to the rights and social services they can enjoy - for example, buying homes or getting medical treatment," she said.

Li Shujuan, a senior at Shenzhen University, said although hukou is an important factor to consider, the main concern when deciding whether to stay in a city upon graduation is job opportunities.

Shenzhen is only one of the players in the talent race. A number of other Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Xi'an, have also offered preferential policies to woo graduates.