Mainland cities are stepping up efforts to lure elite overseas Chinese back to the country, taking advantage of the shrinking job market in the US and European economies. Guangzhou will set up a 200 million yuan (HK$226 million) fund for distributing cash awards to elite returnees who decide to settle down in the capital of Guangdong province, while Shanghai has unveiled a plan to offer tax incentives. Zhu Xiaodan, Guangzhou's party boss, unveiled the package of incentives at a meeting on Wednesday, according to the Southern Metropolis Daily. He made the announcement as the city hosted a job fair targeting well-educated overseas Chinese. Qualified start-ups - those with the potential to become leaders in the fields of IT, biotechnology and finance - can receive as much as 5 million yuan to facilitate the launching of their business. Also, if the returnee has more than a 20 per cent stake in the company they choose to work for - and the core business of the company falls within one of the city government's key areas for development - the company is qualified to receive as much as 5 million yuan from the government-sponsored venture capital firm. All qualified returnees can obtain up to 1 million yuan in relocation fees. The city government also has preferential policies for the schooling of a returnee's children. Up to 1,800 overseas scholars are attending the fair, which opened yesterday. Around 40 per cent want to look for financing opportunities while 50 per cent said they were looking for a job on the mainland, organisers said. In order to attract those in the financial sector, the city government organised a special section for banks and brokerages to hire people. Yu Wei, of Guanzhou's financial services office, said: 'It is the first time we organised financial institutions to set up booths here. The financial crisis offers a good opportunity for us to attract high quality returnees. We only made the decision last month.' Qi Lifen, a senior fellow at the University of Washington, said: 'I haven't made up my mind on where I should settle down after leaving Seattle. 'I joined the fair because the cash award is attractive ... It is certainly easier for me to get financing here than in the US.' Shanghai plans to offer tax incentives to ease the financial burden of overseas professionals, to reinforce the city's status as the country's financial centre. It sent a government delegation to London, Chicago and New York to seek talent for Shanghai's 27 financial institutions including banks, insurers, brokerages, mutual funds and trust firms.