More than 510,000 overseas educated Chinese students chose to return to their home country in 2018, representing a record high over three decades.

The number increased by 8% from that in 2017, while the total number of returnees reached about 5.86 million from 1979 to 2018, official data shows. The career “glass ceiling” is a frequently cited reason by the returnees, 21st Century Business Herald reported.

According to research by job hunter service provider Liepin, more than 36% of the returnees selected Shanghai and Beijing as their destination, while about 10% chose Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

Factors included weather, social networking, industry preference and price index as influences the returnees considered in their selection of which city to live in.

For example, Shanghai is a favourite choice for finance graduates as it’s one of the major international financial centres. Also, having a working culture relatively closer to New York and London was a plus, an Ivy league school graduate was quoted as saying.

Hukou, or household registration, is another major consideration for the returnees, as it’s almost impossible to make new Hukou registration in Beijing. As a result, many returnees have been turning to other cities with a more favourable Hukou policy.

In Shenzhen, most of the overseas educated students can easily register for Shenzhen residency and even get a cash subsidy.