China’s new talent strategy has received growing and considerable attention from the scholarly community, practitioners and policymakers. Talent plays an important role in modernizing China in various key aspects. Unfortunately, amid the current global talent mobility wave, comprehensive understanding of talent management and its impact on China’s socioeconomic development and exchanges with the rest of the world remains limited. To address this gap, we provide an overview of China’s return migration and articulate its implications for contemporary Chinese society by presenting recent empirical evidence bearing on this issue. In so doing, we reveal the driving forces for Chinese returnees, from both the macro-level perspective by applying the push and pull theoretical lens, and from the micro-level perspective by identifying the role of social capital and improving career prospects in emerging economies like China.