Digitally China Podcast: Is China a Better Place for Tech Talent than Silicon Valley?

How do overseas Chinese in the tech sector view the pros and cons of staying or returning to China?

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1:59 AM HKT, Fri February 1, 2019 1 mins read

Digitally China is a bi-weekly podcast from RADII hosted by Tom Xiong and Eva Xiao, and produced by Jacob Loven. On each episode, the team will tackle a different timely tech-related topic, providing key insights on all you need to know about the fast-changing nature of innovation in China. Find previous episodes of Digitally China here and subscribe on iTunes here.

Haigui 海龟 or “sea turtles” are a special part of China’s far-flung diaspora. A term that describes Chinese nationals who study or work overseas before returning to the motherland, sea turtles have become huge contributors to China’s fast-growing tech industry, from top tech executives to VCs.

But how do overseas Chinese view the pros and cons of staying or returning to China? And what motivates haigui, especially those in high-tech industries, to come back?

In this episode, we talk to a few sea turtles and US-based Chinese AI engineers to understand their experience and perspective of China vs. US tech industry, and what it says about China’s race to become a global tech leader.

Some topics that will be covered in this episode:

  • China’s 996 work culture

  • The bamboo ceiling

  • Compensation at US vs Chinese tech firms

  • The breakdown of barriers between Chinese and US tech


  • Mike Lei, CTO of Mobvoi, a Beijing-based artificial intelligence company, whose investors include Google, Sequoia Capital, and ZhenFund.

  • Ji Zhanglong, a Silicon Valley-based machine learning engineer at Facebook.

  • Andy Liu, founder of Futureform, a Beijing-based design agency that specializes in product and UX design for AI-related products.

Listen to the latest Digitally China episode below or find it (and previous episodes) on iTunes here.

Photo by zhang kaiyv on Unsplash

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