Nobel Prize winners to get $1.5 mln housing subsidies in this Chinese city

Wuxi, a developed Chinese coastal city, is paying Nobel Prize winners up to 10 million yuan ($1.48 million) in housing subsidies in an effort to recruit top talent in a country where innovation is driving growth.

In recent years, major cities across China, particularly emerging tech centres in the country’s interior, have thrown out incentives including tax discounts for university graduates in a bid to boost their economies.

In cities where property prices have risen and housing expenditure consumes a large portion of individual salaries, the most important incentives are rental or home-purchase subsidies.

According to a local government statement released on Wednesday, the house purchase subsidies granted by two districts in Wuxi for “Category A” talent, including Nobel laureates in physics and chemistry, range from 3 million yuan ($443,203.47) to 10 million yuan ($1.48 million).

In relation to the city’s average property prices, the subsidies are significant. In April, the average price of a 90-square-metre (969-square-foot) apartment in Wuxi was 14,224 yuan per square metre, or 1.28 million yuan.

“Some other cities have also provided home purchase incentives, but the maximum amount is usually 2 million to 5 million yuan,” said Yan Yuejin, research director of Shanghai’s E-house China and Development Institute.

Last week, a district in Chongqing’s southern city decided to reward top-ranking personnel with excellent accomplishments with house purchase incentives of up to 10 million yuan.

In 2017, talent-snatching programs exploded as inland towns like Xian and Chengdu positioned themselves as appealing alternatives to top-tier coastal cities for highly trained professionals.

Xian, which is attempting to turn itself into a Silicon Valley in northwest China, provided house purchase incentives of up to one million yuan, while Wuhan, China’s industrial capital, enticed graduates with double-digit discounts on renting and buying properties.

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