Chinese students who study overseas and return are increasingly turning to entrepreneurship to make their dreams come true. Zhang Yue reports in Dalian, Liaoning province.
When 31-year-old Li Tuo applied to study for a postgraduate degree on public policy at Japan's Kyoto University in 2005, he was thinking he would get a government job when he returned to China.
But Li now runs his own company providing free school applications and a visa service for students who want to study in Japan.
The company, in Dalian, Liaoning province, has helped hundreds of students since it was founded in 2008 and makes a profit by receiving commission from universities in Japan.
"When I returned to China in 2008, I found that landing a job was not as easy as I thought, even with an overseas degree," Li recalls. "The salary was disappointing, too."
He got one job offer with a salary of 3,000 yuan ($471) per month, but found his study experience in Japan could not help him get a government job.
This is not an unusual experience for students who return from their overseas studies to China in recent years.
According to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, in 2011, 186,200 overseas students returned to the country.
While finding employment after years of overseas experience has become an issue for Chinese students, some are boldly starting their own businesses. Among those who returned in 2011, 20,000 set up their own businesses.
"Most of my schoolmates stayed at electronics companies in Japan," Li says. "But about 20 percent are returning. We see more potential for self-accomplishment back here."
Self-accomplishment is what Li was seeking when he set up his own business.
"When I returned from the United States in 1996, only those who could not survive in the US came back to China," says Xu Xiaoping, one of the country's best-known angel investors, who now provides funds to entrepreneurs from overseas including Li.
"But now it is different. Mostly, those who return now have big ambitions and a clear career goal on returning to China and starting their own business."
This has become a major trend among overseas returnees, young entrepreneurs who are enjoying favorable policies in their motherland.
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