According to a Reuters report, China has secretly revived its elite foreign scientist recruitment program, the Thousand Talents Plan (TTP), under a new name and format called Qiming. The program aims to accelerate China's technological proficiency and addresses the country's need to achieve self-reliance in semiconductors. The revamped recruitment drive offers incentives such as home-purchase subsidies and signing bonuses ranging from 3 to 5 million yuan ($420,000 to $700,000). Qiming is overseen by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and primarily targets scientific and technological fields, including sensitive areas like semiconductors. Compared to its predecessor, Qiming operates more discreetly and is not publicly advertised on central government websites due to its sensitivity.

To attract top talent, Qiming focuses on recruiting applicants who have studied at prestigious foreign institutions, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, and Stanford universities. Although the exact number of experts recruited under Qiming or associated programs is unknown, thousands of applicants have applied, according to government documents reviewed by Reuters.

China's chip industry has experienced significant growth in recent years but faces a shortage of approximately 200,000 professionals, including engineers and chip designers. China's talent recruitment efforts, including Qiming, are designed to fill this gap. However, many Chinese semiconductor experts overseas are hesitant to return due to concerns about China's political environment and its relative weaker position in chip development compared to the West. Some experts also worry that joining China's government talent programs may limit their international opportunities or make them subject to investigations by the U.S.

Various provincial and municipal governments in China are actively investing in the talent recruitment drive. For instance, the Kunpeng Plan, implemented by Zhejiang province, aims to attract 200 tech experts within five years, with 48 already recruited. Incentive payments of up to 1.5 million yuan are offered to employers in Huzhou who recommend candidates to Qiming. However, despite these initiatives, some cities report limited success in convincing recipients to return to China due to concerns about future program changes and potential loss of government support.