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Beibu Bay on Hunt for Talent

The hunt is on for talent for the Beibu Bay Economic Zone in Guangxi, officials said yesterday.

"We're hungry for talent, especially senior professionals, to join us in building another economic powerhouse for the country," Chen Jiwa, who oversees personnel placement in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, said yesterday.

As director of the organization department of the Guangxi committee of the Communist Party of China, Chen made an unusual, high profile appearance in Beijing over the weekend in promotional events to draw talent to the southwestern region, a new part in the country's development strategy aimed at coordinating regional growth.

"I always believe that talent is the foundation for economic growth," she said.

"However, as virgin land, the Beibu Bay Economic Zone faces a severe shortage of the valuable resource."

The zone, which had 425,100 of such talented professionals and workers by the end of 2006, will need 1.15 million of them by 2010, a talent development plan unveiled over the weekend showed.

Those in the petrochemical, energy, papermaking, steel and aluminum processing, agricultural processing, tourism and exhibition as well as logistics and finance industries are the most sought after.

The demand for talent follows the recent announcement by the State Council, the Cabinet, of the Beibu Bay Economic Zone Development Plan.

With 1,600 km of coastline, it will be a base for coastal industries, cooperative ventures in logistics, commerce and trade, and information exchanges between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The zone is slated to become the country's latest engine for economic growth - following in the footsteps of the Pearl River Delta in the south, Yangtze River Delta in the east and the Bohai Sea Rim in the north - by boosting ties with ASEAN members, Japan, South Korea, Europe and the United States.

Chen said that, apart from the recent promotional events, the zone is also going to attract talent in the following ways.

With talent training bases in 10 well-known universities, including one for business in Tsinghua University and one for public affairs management in Renmin University of China. Guangxi will also offer students from these universities internship opportunities and jobs.

Establishing an exchange system for senior officials from more developed provinces to temporarily work in Guangxi to help local development.

By openly selecting senior government officials, such as those in charge of foreign affairs, from across the country.

Chen also made it clear that the zone welcomes talent from overseas, especially those from ASEAN countries.

"Since 2000, we've had more than 8,000 students from ASEAN countries, and many of them have chosen to stay in Guangxi after graduation," she said.

"We expect the number of such students to soar in the following years," she said.

However, Chen admitted that because of comparatively slow economic growth in Guangxi in the past few years, the zone may not offer high salaries to the newcomers as many coastal regions do.

"But we can offer them good policies and abundant development opportunities," she said.

Fang Yahe from China Chemistry University said he thought it was a good chance.

"After all, we college students are no longer elites as we used to be, and it is necessary for us to change our mindset to adapt to the new situation," he said while attending a job fair held by Guangxi authorities on Saturday in Beijing.

(China Daily March 3, 2008)

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