By Wendy Lee
San Francisco Chronicle
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Entrepreneur Mengqiu Wang is part of a group of Chinese nationals known as haigui or sea turtles, who return to the country after gaining knowledge and skills abroad. Last year, 432,500 Chinese who studied abroad returned to China, an increase of 58 percent compared with 2012.
For young Chinese engineers in tech, the American dream once meant landing a job or starting a company in Silicon Valley.
But Mengqiu Wang, who grew up in Hangzhou and graduated from Stanford University, wants to work in China — not the Bay Area.
If his company, Zero Zero Robotics, had started in California, “we probably would have failed,” Wang said.
Building a technology business in China has never been easier. Fearing that the Trump administration is unfriendly to immigrants and eager to court the world’s largest online audience, some Chinese engineers are taking their training at American schools and companies back home, where fast-rising venture capital investments and a surging market protected from competition by American companies like Google and Facebook are fueling the Chinese startup scene.
“When I was studying abroad, the mentality was to stay (in the U.S.) and find a job,” 35-year-old Wang said. “If we fail, we go back to China. Now it’s the other way around in many cases.”
Wang is part of a group of Chinese nationals known as haigui or sea turtles, who return to the country after gaining knowledge and skills abroad. Last year, 432,500 Chinese who studied abroad returned to China, an increase of 58 percent compared with 2012, according to the country’s Ministry of Education.
The boomerang effect is aided by the strength of China’s economy and the promise of its homegrown tech industry, including social networking giant Tencent, e-commerce firm Alibaba and search engine Baidu.