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Shanghai serves both as gatekeeper and magnet for digital talent in Delta

By ZHOU WENTING | China Daily | Updated: 2018-10-26 08:08
Photo taken on Oct 19, 2018 is the Bund in Shanghai. [Photo/VCG]

The Yangtze River Delta region has proved a magnet for domestic digital talent, with Shanghai playing a crucial role in the redistribution of such talent within the region, according to a recent report based on user data by LinkedIn, a US-based networking website.

The Digital Economy and Talent Development Report for China's Yangtze River Delta Region, which was released on Tuesday, showed that the region has been attracting and retaining a growing amount of digital talent, with an inflow versus outflow ratio of 1.35-to-1.

The report also identified Shanghai's pivotal role in where the talent goes, said Chen Yubo, head of Tsinghua University's Center for Internet Development and Governance in the School of Economics and Management.

Specifically, entry-level workers accounted for more than 40 percent of the talent that flowed into Shanghai from the rest of the region, while such workers accounted for 37 percent of those who flowed out of the city, the report said.

By comparison, senior workers at director level and above accounted for 16 percent of the talent that flowed into Shanghai and nearly 19 percent of those who flowed out.

"It showed that Shanghai welcomed young digital talent, many of whom are fresh graduates from other areas of the Yangtze River Delta region or overseas, thanks to the city's advantage in international connectivity," Chen said.

"After gaining experience in the industry in Shanghai for several years, they may flow out to other cities."

The report, jointly created by the center, the Shanghai Institute of Science and Technology Policy and LinkedIn China, also said that most of the digital talent flowing out of Shanghai worked in information and communication technology (20 percent) and manufacturing industries (18 percent), which exactly fits the industrial strengths of neighboring Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces.

In general, digital talent in Shanghai is distributed relatively evenly across industries, while cities elsewhere have advantages in different industries with more concentrated talent, the report said.

For example, the concentration of talent in Hangzhou in the software and information technology services sectors is nearly double that of the average for the delta. Suzhou and Wuxi in Jiangsu province register strong concentrations in the field of manufacturing.

"It presents a fairly healthy developing trend in the region, featuring a diverse and organic industry structure rather than homogeneous competition," Chen said.

Practices in the area provide valuable experience for other regions, he said.

Wang Yanping, head of public policy and government affairs at LinkedIn China, attributed the organic ecosystem of the digital economy of the Yangtze River Delta to the network of cities in the region and the interactive flow of resources and talent and an advanced transportation network, including high-speed rail.

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