Tech investment soared in China last year compared with 2020, showing a deep underlying confidence from PE and VC investors in the country’s high-tech aspirations. What does this mean for the local talent market in 2022?
By Jing-Jing Lui, Director, Sheffield Haworth
2021 was a year that showed the confidence of Chinese investors in the government’s national Made In China strategy to develop China into a hi-tech powerhouse, which has repercussions for the talent market in China for 2022 and beyond.
2021 年是中国投资者对政府将中国发展成为“科技强国”以及“中国制造”的国家战略充满信心的一年，这将对 2022 年及以后的中国人才市场产生影响。
Overall, companies received a record $131.6 billion in VC funding, with markets shifting focus towards B2B firms as the country seeks to develop new industries with complex value chains. This article highlights some of the key sectors of interest based on conversations with policymakers and investors and looks at the key skills that will be more in demand as a result.
总体而言，企业端获得了创纪录的 1316 亿美元的风险投资资金，随着中国寻求发展具有复杂及高附加值价值链的新产业，市场将重点转向 B2B 公司。 本文作者根据对于政策制定者和投资者观察，重点介绍了一些大家感兴趣的关键领域，并着眼于将来的需求及发展趋势。
Carbon neutrality is driving investment in renewable energy tech
In 2020, Chinese President Xi Jinping committed to carbon neutrality by 2060. This has stimulated a wave of investment in companies that will play a role in the carbon neutral transition.
2020 年，中国国家主席习近平承诺中国将到 2060 年实现碳中和。这激发了对碳中和转型中发挥作用的相关行业的投资浪潮。
For example, in March 2021 Sequoia China Investment Management LLP established a 10 billion yuan (c. $1.6 bn) fund with Envision Group – the Shanghai-based manufacturer of sustainable energy technologies – to invest in other carbon neutral technology companies across the value chain. In early November, Envision Group announced that it had received more than $1 billion in investment from Sequoia Capital, GIC Pte Ltd, and Primavera Capital.
例如，2021 年 3 月，红杉中国投资与总部位于上海的可持续能源技术制造商远景集团设立了 100 亿元人民币（约合 16 亿美元）的基金，以投资于整个价值链中与碳中和相关的技术公司。 11月初，远景集团宣布获得红杉资本、GIC Pte Ltd和春华资本超过10亿美元的投资。
Chinese companies are already the world’s largest manufacturers of solar glass, solar modules, and batteries for electric vehicles, and this new wave of investment will drive more innovation and growth in the sector.
China leads the global electric vehicle market
2021 saw sales of electric vehicles (EVs) soar by 169%, cementing the country’s position as the world’s largest EV market. EVs comprised 14.8% of new car sales last year, meaning the country is well on track to meet the government’s target of 20% of new sales being EVs by 2025.
2021 年，电动汽车 (EV) 的销量猛增 169%，巩固了中国作为全球最大电动汽车市场的地位。 去年，电动汽车占新车销量的 14.8%，这意味着中国有望实现政府承诺的目标，即到 2025 年，电动汽车占新车销量的 20%。
Investors feel that this rapid growth will lead to the rise of several Chinese ‘super brands’ in this market. This in turn will stimulate the growth of an entire ecosystem of technology and manufacturing firms to support it as EVs incorporate more intelligent tech based on automation and IoT.
Semiconductor investment dwarfs the US
2021 also saw a huge wave of investment into the domestic semiconductor sector. While the US has ceased exporting chips and semiconductor manufacturing technology to China, the government has responded by offering significant financial and policy support to domestic manufacturers.
2021年也出现了对国内半导体领域的巨大投资浪潮。 尽管美国已停止向中国出口芯片和半导体制造技术， 但政府已通过向国内制造商提供大量财政以及政策支持来做出回应。
Where the government has led, investors have followed. As a result, VCs invested $8.8 billion into Chinese semiconductor makers, startups, and integrated circuit designers in 2021. This is around six and a half times more than the $1.3 billion raised by US peers. As one investor told me: “If we do the math here, China should become home to the world’s top three companies in design, wafer processing, and closed Beta.”
在政府明确引导的领域，投资者也趋之若鹜。 因此，风投在 2021 年向中国半导体制造商、初创公司和集成电路设计师投资了 88 亿美元。这大约是美国同行筹集的 13 亿美元的六倍半。 正如一位投资者告诉我的：“如果我们在这里算一算，中国应该已经成为世界前三名的设计公司、晶圆加工公司和封闭测试公司的所在地。
One of the reasons for investor confidence is that domestic demand for chips is no longer driven by a single product category. It has diversified, with the electric vehicle market being one example of a rapidly growing market which needs chip technology. The government’s extensive support for the sector is another reason for investor confidence in future growth. At the end of 2020, Chinese-made chips supplied only 5.9% of domestic demand. The government is committed to increasing that to 30% by 2025, meaning that investors can expect output to grow by at least 500% in the next few years.
投资者信心的原因之一是，国内对芯片的需求不再受单一产品类别的驱动。 它已经形成多元化。电动汽车市场是快速增长的市场之一，而这正需要芯片技术。 政府对该行业的大力支持是投资者对未来增长充满信心的另一个原因。 2020年底，中国制造的芯片仅供应了国内需求的5.9%。 政府承诺到 2025 年将这一比例提高到 30%，这意味着投资者可以预期未来几年产出将增长至少 500%。
Perhaps more importantly, Chinese investors’ confidence in the quality of domestic-made technology has also increased. Huawei smartphones now retail for higher prices than iPhones, for example, while the launch of the world’s fastest quantum computer in China in 2021 is another source of confidence and pride in China’s ability to become a world-beating high-tech innovator.
另外更重要的是，中国投资者对国产技术质量的信心也有所增强。 例如，华为智能手机现在的零售价格比 iPhone 更高，而 2021 年世界上最快的量子计算机在中国的推出是对中国成为世界领先的高科技创新者的信心和自豪感的另一个来源。
What does this mean for the Chinese talent market?
Compared with other countries and regions, China’s job market will recover more rapidly after the pandemic, and the demand for talent in the technology industry is far ahead. There is a broad market demand for compound technical skills, especially in the fields of semiconductors, network security, AI, deep learning, machine learning and image algorithms. Reports show that this growth in demand for domestic talent in these fields drove salary increases of between 30% and 50% in 2021.
LinkedIn previously conducted a survey of 604 Chinese living in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia to understand the willingness and needs of overseas talent to return to China. According to the survey data, 56% of the respondents would consider going to China for career development, of which 59%, 50% and 54% were in the US, UK and Australia respectively.
领英之前对居住在美、英、澳的604位华人进行调研，了解海外人才的归国意愿与需求。调研数据显示，56%的受访者会考虑 前往中国寻求职业发展，其中美国、英国、澳大利亚的比例分别为59%、50%和54% 。
Indeed, Chinese companies that are hungry for talent are closing the gap with developed countries in the compensation they pay for senior talent. Nearly 87% of returnee talents have increased their salary after returning to China, and more than half of them have seen increases of more than 30%. High-tech talents with an increase of more than 80% account for a quarter of those returnees. This phenomenon also gives the Chinese who are still overseas more reason to return to work in China. At the same time, Chinese companies and the government have also stated that they will expand the recruitment of overseas experts and senior talents once the pandemic is over, hoping that more and more Western high-tech talent will see China as a larger stage to apply and develop their skills.
求贤若渴的中国企业付给高级人才的薪酬也确实正在与发 达国家缩小差距。有近87%的海归人才在回国后薪酬增 长，且其中增长在30%以上的人数占比超过了一半. 涨幅超过80%的高科技人才占到1/4. 更有科技前沿的核心研发人才被几倍的工资引进回国。可见，涨薪幅度相当可观。这一现象也给了仍在海外的华人们更 充足的回国工作的理由。 与此同时，中国政府和企业也表示将在疫情结束后，扩大对海外专家及高级人才的招聘，希望越来越多的西方高科技人才能将中国作为更大的应用场景和舞台。
About the author 关于作者
Jing-Jing Liu has more than 17 years’ experience across search and talent consulting. During her career she has worked at the American Chamber of Commerce, Robert Walters, and also founded and ran her own search firm for 12 years, partnering with international and local organisations and enjoying particular success in the technology, PE/VC, financial services and real assets sectors where she holds extensive relationships. Jing is native Shanghainese and is a regular guest host for the China Business Network, a channel owned by China Media Group focusing on key business topics affecting China.
刘晶晶在人力资源咨询行业拥有超过 17 年的经验。 在她的职业生涯中，她曾在美国商会以及Robert Walters工作，并创立并经营了自己的人力资源公司 超过12 年。 她长期与国际和本地组织合作，并在高科技、PE/VC、金融服务和房地产领域拥有长期和稳固的资源与经验。晶晶是土生土长的上海人，同时也是第一财经频道的长期特约嘉宾，专注于影响中国的关键性商业话题。