Collecting Expertise

National meeting in Nanjing allows domestic companies to select foreign talent


The 2004 China Conference on International Exchange of Professionals (CIEP) was held on March 28-29 in Nanjing in the eastern province of Jiangsu. Sponsored by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, the Jiangsu Provincial People’s Government and the Nanjing Municipal People’s Government, the event is regarded as the “name card” of Nanjing, since it is the only national-level conference held in the city.

TAKE A LOOK: Foreign representatives from professionals exchange organizations show off their qualification certificates at the 2002 CIEP

Held annually since 2001 (except for 2003 because of SARS), the conference is intended as an opportunity to exchange ideas among international professionals and promote cooperation. This year’s CIEP saw nearly 260 foreign experts and training organizations participate, including the British Executive Services Overseas, International Executive Council (from the United States) and the Japan Overseas Development Cooperation, among others. There were about 200 overseas Chinese professionals and nearly 2,000 representatives from domestic organizations in attendance.

This year’s CIEP consisted of such events as introducing foreign economic, technological, managerial and culture-education personnel, international training programs as well as international professional recruitment. Participants networked for suitable counterparts, some reaching agreements on recruitment and overseas training.

It was the success of CIEP in 2001 and 2002 that has made Nanjing the permanent host city for the event. In 2002, with 222 overseas organizations from 30 countries and regions, the conference attracted more than 800 foreign experts and overseas Chinese professionals, many of whom took part in the 3,337 projects agreed upon during or after the conference.

Of course, numbers alone do not ensure a successful conference. This year organizers paid special attention to the quality of professionals. It was required that all Chinese who returned home after studying or working overseas should have at least a Bachelor’s degree and that all domestic professionals have more than three years of work experience.

One feature of this year’s CIEP was the integration of online and on-site services. Job seekers and employers were not only able to conduct face-to-face interviews, but after they left the meeting room, the Internet provided a means to communicate wherever and whenever needed. By logging onto such websites as or, participants were able to register projects they were interested in or browse for partners.

Companies, hopeful to snatch up talent, knew very well that they had to offer competitive compensation packages to attract the most qualified professionals. Nanjing Liyuan Corp., a real estate company, announced that it would like to recruit a CEO for its subsidiary—Hi-tech Development Co. Ltd. of Jiangning Open Economic Zone—and offered an annual salary of 2 million yuan ($241,546). Su Shigong, CEO of Liyuan Corp., said that the need for a highly competent leader was due to the company developing a competitive hi-tech business.

It was not easy, Mr. Su continued. The ideal CEO would not only be a professional manager, but also a technological specialist with research achievements.

While discussions continue, Nanjing has already seen the positive effects this conference has brought. On top of building the city’s reputation as a commercial hub, the region is quickly realizing the benefits of intense international exchange.

Fujiabian Agricultural Science and Technology Garden in Lishui County, Jiangsu is one of the domestic organizations that can attest to the benefit of the conference. In September 2002, the company signed a long-term cooperation agreement with a Japanese partner, who brought to the area pear species and growing facilities valued at 150,000 yuan ($18,116). The project has employed 3,600 farmers, planting Japanese pears and accepting professional guidance from their Japanese counterparts.

In February this year, experts from Holland were invited to the Agricultural Garden, bringing with them advanced agricultural technologies. It is estimated that their strawberry project alone will bring wages to more than 2,500 households around the area.