China's Stealth Revival Of 'Thousand Talents Plan' Signals Semiconductor Ambitions Despite US Restrictions

Zinger Key Points
  • China discreetly revives 'Thousand Talents Plan', now named 'Qiming', targeting top semiconductor expertise.
  • Amid U.S. curbs, China's talent program offers lucrative perks: up to $700K bonuses, and home subsidies which signaling a major tech push.

China is reviving a dead program to attract top scientists (foreign or domestic) to accelerate its semiconductor industry in the wake of stricter U.S. export controls.

What Happened: Xi Jinping's quest for technological supremacy has advanced another notch, as China revived the sidelined "Thousand Talents Plan" (TTP), discreetly reintroducing the initiative under a new moniker — Qiming.

Overseen by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the recruitment program is focused on acquiring top expertise in “sensitive” and “classified” fields including semiconductors, according to Reuters, who initially reported on the topic.

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China’s strategy is stretching to monetary perks, doling out substantial signing bonuses ranging from 3 to 5 million yuan ($420,000 to $700,000), home-purchase subsidies, and more. Those incentives, coupled with Jinping’s pronounced push for semiconductor self-reliance, underline China’s commitment to its mission.

The resurgence of China’s talent acquisition drive coincides with recent regulations set by the U.S. Commerce Department, which are designed to prevent U.S. citizens and permanent residents from aiding in the development and production of advanced chips in China.

Major industry players, including Nvidia Corp NVDA, Taiwan Semiconductor Mfg. Co. Ltd. TSM, and Micron Technology Inc MU have already pivoted after the wide-ranging U.S. regulations.

Investors should also keep an eye on the broader semiconductor sector, represented by the iShares Semiconductor ETF SOXX, Invesco PHLX Semiconductor ETF SOXQ, and VanEck Semiconductor ETF SMH.

Despite the lucrative offers and national emphasis on semiconductor prowess, China faces its share of challenges, Reuters said.

Many Chinese semiconductor professionals overseas are hesitant to rejoin the domestic scene, citing concerns over China’s unpredictable political environment and the possibility of U.S. investigations.

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Photo: Shutterstock

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