China has tech talent, and race is on to hire it

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 December, 2015, 3:21am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 December, 2015, 3:21am

The race is on for top talent among China’s internet titans, with some of the biggest names turning to campuses to meet their present and future needs.

Buffon Wang, recruitment director at Tencent, which operates the popular WeChat messaging app, said competition was expected to get even fiercer as the “Internet Plus” strategy gathered steam and created opportunities for internet companies.

“We have been hunting for top professionals to strengthen our team because the internet industry is moving to a more advanced level under the Internet Plus strategy. But it’s tough finding high-quality people as the market is competitive,” Wang said.

Internet Plus is a government plan to use internet technology to revitalise the economy.

Wang said Tencent would keep expanding next year after adding 4,000 new staff and recruiting 3,000 others to fill vacancies this year.

The demand for staff had been strong in technology positions, which accounted for 70 to 80 per cent of Tencent’s recruitment. Between 10 and 15 per cent of employees were involved in product development, Wang said.

Amid the talent scarcity, Tencent has also recruited on campus to cultivate the people it needs. The company hired 2,000 fresh graduates this year, most of them before their final results came in.

“We will allocate more resources for new talent. It’s not just money, but also to provide a platform for them to develop their careers and make their dreams comes true,” Wang said, adding that campus recruitment is also competitive.

Wang said one top candidate from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications turned down his offer, opting instead for another of the dozen he received.

Hai Xuesen, staffing operations manager for search giant Baidu, said the company was overhauling its business to capitalise on opportunities in new areas and was focusing more on high-end tech talent.

“We slowed our recruitment in the fourth quarter as we reviewed our business direction, but we have not stopped hiring high-end talent, particularly top young talent,” Hai said.

Baidu’s staff numbers would stay the same at about 12,000 staff.

Guo Sheng, chief executive of online recruiter, said the demand for staff in the internet industry would remain strong next year but smaller tech firms were expected to be more aggressive in hiring.