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The Returnees' Startups

Some of China's Western-educated scientists are returning to launch their own startups, Reuters' Irene Jay Liu reports.

Liu notes that China has long been trying to entice researchers to return, but many scientists have been wary of the role that connections play in gaining funding and promotions. Instead those who've returned came back after the global financial crisis, a time when China pumped more money into science and technology, are going into the private sector. Many of the new firms are working closely with Big Pharma and are attracting US and multinational venture capitalists, she says.

Michael Yu, the founder and CEO of Innovent, has received funding from Chinese and US investors, Reuters says, including $140 million from bioBAY, a government-funded biosciences park, for its lab and production facility.

"I sometimes ask myself, 'why did I return to China?' I had a very comfortable life in the US and my family's still there," Michael Yu, Innovent's founder and CEO, tells Liu. "But for lots of Chinese men, there's always something in the heart ... a desire to go back and do something. Biotech has only just started in China so you can have significant impact for a whole industry, for a country."