Studying abroad makes China’s second-generation entrepreneurs different

The Wall Street Journal has an article along with a video segment about how China’s private economy will change hands in the next decade, from the first-generation entrepreneurs to their children – many of whom studied abroad and have a very different view about how to run a business than their parents do.

Duan Liuwen, who heads up an organization for second-generation wealthy called Relay China, was quoted as saying:

“It is harder to be an entrepreneur in China compared to in the West, but there are also more opportunities here. The good thing is the government is changing, too; even in the government there are more overseas returnees.”

Liuwen’s father happens to be the former chairman for Sina Corp while Duan himself is a graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania who returned to China to set up Halation Photonics Corp., a display-technology company.

In the accompanied video interview, Liuwen commented that around 80% of Relay China’s members are foreign educated plus he commented how returnees are a valuable resource for Chinese companies who need to internationalize as returnees speak a common language (so to speak) with professionals, managers and executives in foreign countries:

Nevertheless, the article went on to say that some second-generation wealthy Chinese have chosen to stay abroad in part because they are pessimistic about the Chinese economy with Carl Meng, who got a master’s from Cambridge University, being quoted as saying:

“It will be difficult for me to adjust to the Chinese way of doing things. The Chinese economy looks like a dead end and my parents don’t mind me staying abroad either.”

Meng now works for an investment bank in London.

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