Car­rots For Qual­ity

Qian­jiang Evening News Au­gust 28

Beijing Review - - This Week People & Points -

Wuhan, cap­i­tal of cen­tral China’s Hubei Prov­ince, of­fi­cially an­nounced that it is pro­mot­ing three ma­jor projects to at­tract col­lege grad­u­ates. One of them is as­sist­ing such young peo­ple to buy homes at a 20-per­cent dis­count.

It’s good to see sec­ond-tier cities com­pet­ing for tal­ents. Col­lege grad­u­ates will help to boost their in­no­va­tion and com­pet­i­tive­ness. How­ever, in the mar­ket econ­omy, how can Wuhan man­age to pro­vide cheaper houses to th­ese grad­u­ates? If the lo­cal gov­ern­ment pro­vides sub­si­dies for them, then it’s un­fair to other res­i­dents.

Nan­jing, cap­i­tal of east­ern Jiangsu Prov­ince, has also worked out a se­ries of fa­vor­able poli­cies tar­get­ing col­lege grad­u­ates, such as giv­ing them a lo­cal hukou, which is the manda­tory lo­cal regis­tra­tion doc­u­ment, cheaper houses and even money. How­ever, will th­ese poli­cies re­ally at­tract tal­ents to sec­ond-tier cities?

De­spite high hous­ing prices and long daily com­mutes ev­ery­day, many young peo­ple still feel more com­fort­able liv­ing in Beijing. Un­like in smaller cities, where who you know im­pacts daily life so much, in big cities peo­ple have ac­cess to equal op­por­tu­ni­ties and fair gov­ern­ment ser­vices.

There­fore, even if sec­ond-tier cities at­tract some tal­ents through ma­te­rial in­cen­tives, it’s a big ques­tion whether they will man­age to re­tain them for long. It’s thus im­por­tant for lo­cal gov­ern­ments to im­prove the “soft­ware” of their cities, such as im­prov­ing gov­ern­ment ser­vices, cre­at­ing a good en­vi­ron­ment for in­dus­trial in­no­va­tion, and pro­vid­ing a good cul­tural en­vi­ron­ment.

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