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Govt encouraging migrant workers to start own businesses

Su Zhou and Zhu Lixin
Updated: Aug 2,2016 7:36 AM     China Daily

The government will provide training to migrant workers as part of an effort encouraging them to return to their hometowns and start their own businesses over the next five years, in hope of generating more local jobs and alleviating poverty.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said it will take five years to leverage the capabilities of more than 277 million migrant workers to start businesses through education, vocational training, consultation and financial subsidies.

“We will tailor training, establish incubators and provide follow-up support,” the ministry said.

Businesses with low thresholds are considered the most suitable choices, including village-themed tourism, traditional handicrafts and farm products.

Since the adoption of reform and opening-up policy in 1978, many peasants have left their villages and farms to work at construction sites, factories and restaurants in cities. Labor-intensive industries have absorbed millions of them and contributed to China’s fast development.

However, as the country seeks to transition to an economy led by consumer spending and innovation, they were also forced to reflect on their career paths.

According to a report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, more than 66 percent of polled migrant workers said they would like to return to their hometowns. The top five reasons were age, unattended parents and children, lack of skills that employers needed, unattended farms and the lack of a sense of belonging in cities.

Wang Zili, 46, from Anhui province, is a migrant worker who returned home. He had been taking temporary jobs-mostly painting-in several provinces and cities. He came up with the idea of doing business at home when he was employed by an electronics company in Taizhou, Zhejiang province.

“I thought my job was very easy and asked the boss whether I could take some materials home and return the finished products to the factory. The boss agreed,” said Wang.

Wang returned to his hometown and established his own workshop in 2012.

“Most of the workers are women, seniors and the disabled left behind by men working in the cities, while more and more men are returning home,” said Wang.

Cui Chuanyi, a researcher with the Development Research Center of the State Council, said returning migrant workers will create millions of small and medium-sized enterprises and help farmers to find jobs near their families.