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Going to work in Shanghai. Photo: Vincent Isore/IP3/Getty

Beijing is paying top dollar to woo star Chinese scientists back home to win the AI race and build a home-grown chip industry. But for the vast majority of foreign-educated graduates, finding work back in China is tough.

What's going on: The U.S. is making it harder for foreign university graduates to remain in the U.S., Axios' Stef Kight reported earlier. Meanwhile, Chinese students in the U.S. are increasingly choosing to go home after getting their diploma, despite the intense competition.

Here is what a recent Chinese returnee told me: "Right now, landing a good job in China is very, very difficult. The competition is more fierce than ever. There is a large number of Chinese students who graduate from prestigious universities or colleges every year, and having only the degree does not make you stand out. You also need prestigious internships, and a clear career direction." 

By the numbers: From 1978 — the dawn of the Deng era — till 2016, about 82% of Chinese studying abroad returned home, according to China's Ministry of Education.

  • But the percentage was far lower prior to the financial crash, which played a pivotal role in China's accelerated global rise, according to data from SixthTone.com, a Chinese news site.
  • In 2016 alone, 425,200 overseas students returned to China, an increase of 159,600, or 58%, over 2012, reports Sohu.com, a Chinese website.

Go deeper

Bipartisan group of senators unveil $908 billion COVID stimulus proposal

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in the Capitol in 2018. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

A bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday proposed a $908 billion coronavirus stimulus package, in one of the few concrete steps toward COVID relief made by Congress in several months.

Why it matters: Recent data shows that the economic recovery is floundering as coronavirus cases surge and hospitals threaten to be overwhelmed heading into what is likely to be a grim winter.

Inside Patch's new local newsletter platform

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Patch, the hyperlocal (and profitable) local digital news company, has built a new software platform called "Patch Labs" that lets local news reporters publish their own newsletters and websites, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: It follows a growing trend of journalists going solo via newsletters at the national level.

Scoop: Politico stars plot new Playbook

Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Three of Politico’s biggest reporting stars plan to launch a competitor to the company’s Politico Playbook franchise, sources tell me. 

Why it matters:  Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer and John Bresnahan will launch a daily newsletter in 2021 as a stand-alone company, the sources say. In effect, they will be competing against the Playbook franchise they helped create and grow.