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18/11/2016

MyNewsCenterNavigator,SRU-Electronics,Silicon Valley’s foreign contingent needn’t consider Canada. If President-elect Donald Trump makes good on campaign promises to bar foreign talent, China will welcome them with open arms.

China’s Happy to Take U.S. Tech Immigrants That Trump Blocks

Robin Li.

Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

 

Silicon Valley’s foreign contingent needn’t consider Canada. If President-elect Donald Trump makes good on campaign promises to bar foreign talent, China will welcome them with open arms.

Robin Li, the billionaire chief executive of China’s largest search engine Baidu Inc., may have voiced the sentiments of many of his compatriots on Friday. He hopes that some of the tens of thousands of highly-skilled, overseas-born workers now plying their trade in the Valley will instead consider a career in the world’s second largest economy.

“I read that an advisor to President-elect Donald Trump complained that three-quarters of engineers in Silicon Valley aren’t Americans,” Li told the World Internet Conference in the historic town of Wuzhen. “So I myself hope that many of these engineers will come to China to work for us.”

Li’s reckoning isn’t far off the mark: in the two Silicon Valley counties of Santa Clara and San Mateo -- home to Intel Corp. and Nvidia Corp. -- about two-thirds of people working in computing and mathematics fields are foreign-born, according to a study by research firm Joint Venture Silicon Valley using 2014 U.S. government data.

 

Many of those on temporary visas are now seriously weighing their options after Trump’s victorious White House bid. The former reality TV star said Nov. 9 that sweeping changes to U.S. immigration policy rank among his top three priorities. He’s said previously he will “end forever” the use of cheaper labor from the H-1B program -- a lottery system that’s a principal source of visas for tech workers, as an alternative to hiring U.S. citizens.

 

China’s largest technology firms, from Tencent Holdings Ltd. to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., have blossomed in past years into domestic economic powerhouses, helped in part by an influx of Chinese-born but foreign-trained talent. But enticing non-Chinese personnel has proven tougher because of language barriers, pervasive web censorship and strict government control of the internet.

Still, Li said there’s an inherent attraction to working in a booming market.

“Many engineers in Silicon Valley have expressed concern about the United States’ capabilities in innovation,” Li told the conference. “In the past, Chinese IT companies can only attract Chinese engineers from abroad. We would now like to hire more engineers from different backgrounds around the world because China is the fastest growing major market, so let’s all work together.”

— With assistance by David Ramli

 
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