These days, what is hot about Hong Kong for young people on the mainland are not our movie stars and singers but getting a scholarship to study here or coming to work as a professional. For weeks, the news that dominated discussions on internet chat rooms was that dozens of top scorers in the national college entrance examination were among 1,300 mainland students admitted to our universities this year. In terms of the goodwill it generates and the potential benefits it brings, opening our universities to mainland students since 1998 has been one of the best decisions Hong Kong has made. The move marked the resurrection of our role as a training ground for young minds from all over the country who want to receive a western-style education and nurture good English skills without going abroad. Until the flow of students from the mainland was blocked by political factors in the late 1940s, Hong Kong was where some of the nation's top achievers received their tertiary education. They included Sun Yat-sen, founder of republican China, and scores of diplomats, scholars and professionals. Today, the flow of mainland students has extra significance for Hong Kong. As a world-class financial centre, we need all the talent we can get. We have always welcomed foreign professionals. But unlike London and New York, which are fed by constant flows of talent from within their own countries and the world at large, Hong Kong had been unable to draw the best minds from our hinterland because of immigration barriers. Only in recent years have these hurdles been dismantled with the launch of various schemes to import professionals from across the border. At present, an estimated 20,000 mainlanders under 40 are studying or working in the city. As our population ages, this young blood helps maintain the vitality of our workforce. Their numbers remain small and should be increased. Their attachment to and knowledge of Hong Kong will help this city's reintegration with the mainland. However, many mainland students find it difficult to stay in Hong Kong for work after completing their studies. As we report today, a survey of mainland graduates who studied in Hong Kong found that 90 per cent wanted to stay and work in the city but only 20 per cent were able to do so. They cited lack of support and information as major obstacles. While these newcomers are highly appreciative of Hong Kong's free press, rule of law, social justice and liberal atmosphere, some complain of difficulties in mixing with indigenous Hongkongers, primarily because of language. The integration problems they face are relatively mild and no different from those encountered by immigrants elsewhere. But if Hong Kong is to reap the benefits from such a brain gain, more must be done to ensure that talented mainlanders not only come here to study - but also to stay.