Young, Lively Workforce Key to Innovation, says Ctrip Chairman James Liang

WUZHEN, China, Oct. 20, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- James Liang, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Ctrip Group, today attended the 6th World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, where he stressed the importance of maintaining a young, skilled and entrepreneurial talent pool into the future. For China, he says, the future of innovative capacity depends largely on the ability of policymakers to ensure that the country’s workforce maintains its vitality, or risk losing its competitive edge.

Liang, an accomplished Internet business leader and renowned demographer, has spoken at length on the relationship between talent retention and innovative capacity of national economies. “In order for a country to maintain its innovative capacity, public policies should be designed to ensure the quality, vitality, and size of its workforce into the future,” said Liang.

With a view to Liang’s own business background, the Internet industry in China has experienced decades of sustained unprecedented growth. Set to outpace the United States over the next few decades, the country’s rise to technological innovation powerhouse has been, according to Liang, in large part due to the sheer scale of both its talent pool and consumer base. “China produces more college and PhD graduates annually than the United States,” he said. “It also has a massive online population of 900 million Internet users, making the country fertile ground for Internet innovation.”

There is still a way to go, however, says Liang. Chinese innovators are quickly emerging as competitors to renowned US makers, but in many cases, are yet to establish a reputation internationally. “This is completely normal,” said Liang. “Scale will see Chinese firms continuing to drive innovation, and with time, their value will be recognized internationally.”

It's not all cut-and-dried, though. China’s scale and relatively young workforce has played an important role in driving entrepreneurship in the country to date, but without intervention, the country faces the real possibility of losing its competitive edge. The solution, says Liang, is for the government to view a large population as a resource rather than a liability.

“It’s a fact that inventors and scientists are most productive in their 30s, and most entrepreneurs start firms at this age. In an aging society, young workers occupy lower positions in organizations, have fewer skills, and less access to financial resources,” he said. “Without intervention, China will have one of the oldest workforces in the world by 2040. China is now in an economically strong position to encourage fertility, and should do so, to ensure that entrepreneurship and innovation do not dwindle over the coming decades.”

China is today home to one of the most vibrant Internet economies in the world, and with the right policies in place, will continue to enjoy growth and be an innovation powerhouse well into the future. In the long-run, though, the tech race will be won by the nation that identifies its strength in human resources and best utilizes it, says Liang. “The US attracts masses of highly skilled migrants, and India is set to become home to the largest population on Earth. If China fails to take measures to ensure its competitive edge, either of these countries could conceivably take over,” he said. “It all comes down to the talent pool, and who manages it with respect to their own competitive advantage to best encourage innovation.”

About International, Ltd. International, Ltd. is a leading travel service provider of accommodation reservation, transportation ticketing, packaged tours and corporate travel management in China. It is the largest online consolidator of accommodations and transportation tickets in China in terms of transaction volume. Ctrip enables business and leisure travelers to make informed and cost-effective bookings by aggregating comprehensive travel related information and offering its services through an advanced transaction and service platform consisting of its mobile apps, Internet websites and centralized, toll-free, 24-hour customer service center. Ctrip also helps customers book vacation packages and guided tours. In addition, through its corporate travel management services, Ctrip helps corporate clients effectively manage their travel requirements. Since its inception in 1999, Ctrip has experienced substantial growth and become one of the best-known travel brands in China.

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Ctrip Chairman James Liang (pictured) speaks at the 6th World Internet Conference in Wuzhen.