​Shanghai's Changning district creates a sense of belonging for talent

Updated: Mar 25, 2024 en.sh-italent.com Print
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In a bid to foster a sense of belonging for talent, Changning district in Shanghai has taken significant steps to provide them with comfortable living spaces.


Jiang Yuying, who graduated with a master's degree from the University of Melbourne last year, receives government help renting an apartment in Shanghai's Changning district. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

"I didn't expect applying for the overseas talent apartment to be so simple and convenient. After submitting the necessary documents online, I received a notification to choose my apartment in less than a week. Now, it only takes me five minutes to walk from home to the office!" said Jiang Yuying, a young woman from Hangzhou, while sharing her experience moving into a talent apartment in Changning.

After graduating with a master's degree in marketing and communication from the University of Melbourne last year, Jiang came to Shanghai and got a job at Buy Quickly, working in e-commerce operations. Initially, she shared a flat with others in an old residential area. However, at the beginning of this year, Jiang heard about the opening of the official website of the Shanghai Hongqiao Overseas Talent One-Stop Service Center. Testing the waters, she applied for a one-bedroom apartment for overseas returnees on the website and was surprised by how smoothly the process went.


A one-bedroom flat for overseas returnees in Shanghai's Changning district. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

"The apartment is fully equipped with a refrigerator, washing machine, kitchen, and bathroom facilities. There's also a coffee bar and gym, and during the cold winter, the central heating is very effective. With the subsidy from Changning district, the rent for the apartment is only half of what I used to pay in the old residential area. Most importantly, I finally have my own bathroom, which is very convenient!" The excellent living environment has filled Jiang with a sense of belonging in her work and life in Changning.

In recent years, Changning district has seen a booming digital economy, with the growth rate in the revenue of the software information industry and the total value of transactions on major e-commerce platforms ranking among the highest in Shanghai. A number of e-commerce platforms and information-based enterprises, such as Pinduoduo, Ctrip, and Buy Quickly, have established their headquarters in Changning. Changning also has the highest density of foreign residents among districts in downtown Shanghai, with a large number of foreign-funded and foreign-related enterprises.

"While working to attract investment, we have clearly felt an increasing demand from enterprises for talent and talent apartments. We hope to implement more extensive and inclusive policies that benefit enterprises by reducing costs, increasing efficiency, and attracting talent. Meanwhile, managers at these enterprises are paying more attention to the experiences of their employees," said a Changning government official.

Building a favorable industrial ecosystem requires joint efforts from government departments and society.

On Jan 1, the official website of the Shanghai Hongqiao Overseas Talent One-Stop Service Center was officially connected to the International Services Shanghai online portal as the first district-level international service portal in Shanghai, providing one-stop services for foreign nationals and returnees. The website offers government services related to customs clearance, employment, entrepreneurship, people's livelihoods, enterprises, accommodation, medical care, education, finance, insurance, translation, travel, training, and legal consultation.

Many people have already used the service to apply for talent apartments. The entire process, from submitting application materials and paying the deposit to signing the lease, can be completed online. The apartment manager can also assist with remote video tours, providing great convenience for applicants who have not yet returned to the country after graduating. Less than two months after the website was launched, 70 overseas talents had applied, with 45 successfully moving into their new apartments.

The 24-hour entry and residence registration is also one of the most frequently used functions on the website. After entering the country, foreign individuals can complete their accommodation registration and self-declaration online, without needing to visit physical service windows. Shanghai-based Norwegian entrepreneur Per Askeland, who has been working and living in Changning for seven years, was delighted by the introduction of this service and has recommended it to many of his foreign friends. As a lover of the arts, he also found information on monthly cultural events on the website, making his life in Changning more convenient and comfortable.


Per Askeland browses the portal. [Photo by Zheng Zheng/chinadaily.com.cn]

"Before the website went live, Changning's departments, such as the talent office, human resources and social security bureau, and foreign affairs office conducted research into the overseas talent service websites of several countries and regions and distributed hundreds of questionnaires to overseas talent within the district," said Li Min, head of the Comprehensive Service Section of the Changning District Talent Service Center. "Finally, we began offering in-demand services such as residence registration, application for overseas talent apartments, foreign exchange, and information on performances and exhibitions in the current service modules. We hope that by continuing to improve these functions, we can make it easier for Changning enterprises to attract and retain outstanding talent."

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