Friday, June 01, 2007

Globalization and the Brain Drain

As more than a casual observer of the globalization of technology (I type this from my hotel room in Beijing) I was amused to read the article "China hit by brain drain, report says" in the China Daily provided by the Beijing Hilton. The article made some pretty stark comments about the state of affairs:
  • Since 1978, more than 70% of all Chinese who traveled abroad to study chose not to return home
  • Between 1978 and 2006 about 1.06 million Chinese went to study overseas and just 275,000 returned home.
  • About 300,000 people who went abroad with the initial intention of visiting relatives later enroled in higher education and stayed
  • Chinese students overseas, especially those with extraordinary abilities are a real hit in the global tug of war for talent.
I guess this must be true. After all, why am I here in China? Why do I personally know five IBMers from the US who'll be working here next week?

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions.


Unknown said...

Hi Philip:

So you are back again? Did you enjoy the Child day in China? :D

Well, the report is true but it is out of date now. However to some extend, it is definitely an interesting topic for all the Chinese now lived abroad. Which is: there are many chances and changes happened in China while should they give up years of hard work to stay abroad or come back to catch the chances. I was laughed when I read a recent article that many young people in China still want to go abroad to study and live but many foreigner came into China to earn a life.

Anyway, it will change, more and more Chinese will come back when they see the stable development happened in mainland. But this will depends on if the policy of country development will not change dramatically.


Anonymous said...

I was trying to find some figures but failed. It's said when Japanese started going abroad many years ago very few of them went back to Japan. Then more and more went back. And nowadays most of them returned right after their programs. Most say Chinese will follow this trend as well.

But everyone, including myself is just a ONE in that 1.06 million. There are all sorts of answers to what brought us here and what's keeping us here, or what's making us stay away from China.

Whether I am going back to China is still a mystery for myself today. For me the critical reason is not the government policy or country development at all. It's more about feeling of my own age. I've been in the states for 7 years now. I have a family, good career, and a network in the states to keep me feel very secure about my life. What about China? It is my home but I have no clue what's out there for me if I go back. For the same reason I am not going to Europe, Japan, etc. even though people would agree they are similarly well structured places as US.

Anonymous said...

hi philip
i have been through recent economy changes in china through news but not much informed over the same.
but yes here in my country same condition prevails as many bright resources are leaving to other shores for better pay.

will not comment but some things are seriuosly affecting the nation.
same is happening as many MNC's have set up their base in here on account of cheap labour and infra setup.

but what i see is that the mass movement from different regions is definatley going to have a big impact globally

IT has been one of the major contributors for this
myself been travelling all around on consulting assignments.

been interacted with people from diffrent religions/nationalities

what i learnt is that u always it has been a enriching experience when u travel!

that is all for now

deepak kaul

can reach me on!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Phil. Great to meet you in Beijing and to discover your blog! In this article, I think you have a lapse in logic, maybe. Just because a) Chinese students are brain draining out of China (maybe) and b) IBMers are entering China, that does not imply c) that brains are draining BACK into China from the US via IBM. Ha ha. This is a joke (maybe) from the wife of one your colleagues, great IBM brain Neal Dunnigan. Best Regards! Virginia Giglio, Ph.D., President, Global Thinking, Inc.