The percentage of Chinese college graduates choosing to start their own businesses has risen for three consecutive years, a survey shows.
It also found that the average monthly salary of self-employed graduates is higher than those who are not.
Of the college students who graduated in 2013, 2.3 per cent started their own business, higher than the figure for 2012 (2 per cent), 2011 (1.6 per cent) and 2010 (1.5 per cent).
This is according to the 2014 Chinese College Graduates' Employment Annual Report, released on Monday by MyCOS, an education consulting and research institute in Beijing.
The survey polled 268,000 graduates from 28 provinces and regions.
Chen Yu, vice-president of the China Association for Employment Promotion, said the increase results from government efforts in recent years to support graduates in starting their own businesses, such as reduced intervention, the offer of micro loans and cuts in taxes and fees.
"These measures provide a good environment for college graduates who intend to start their own businesses," Chen said.
The survey also found the education sector is graduates' preferred choice when they decide to start a business, with 15 per cent of them choosing to begin their careers in this area.
Other areas, including retail, wholesale, architecture, media, information and telecoms, are among the top choices.
Feng Lijuan, chief consultant at 51job.com, a major recruiting website in China, said starting a business in these fields is comparatively easier and college graduates have a bigger chance of keeping their businesses going.
"The education sector, especially test-oriented training, is expanding quickly in China and therefore college graduates, as a group of highly educated people, can easily find a place in it," Feng said.
As for the retail and wholesale industries, Feng said a series of online trading websites such as taobao.com provide a simple and convenient platform for college graduates to establish their own online stores.
The report shows that only 8 per cent of self-employed college graduates started their own businesses because of difficulty in landing jobs, while 48 per cent did so because they wanted to become entrepreneurs.
Other reasons include having good entrepreneurial ideas, being invited by friends or peers to start a business together and believing in the income prospects of entrepreneurship.
The report said college students who started their own businesses after graduating in 2010 now earn an average of 8,424 yuan (S$1,687) a month, 41 per cent higher than the average for all college students who graduated that year.
Despite the good incomes earned by college graduate entrepreneurs, experts voiced concern for such businesses.
Feng believes that real entrepreneurship lies in innovative developments in areas such as the high-tech sector.
"But most Chinese college graduates can't make it with their current knowledge structure and therefore most of the Chinese graduate entrepreneurs end up in the service industry."
Chen said, "An ideal entrepreneurship programme can solve the problem of college graduates' employment and also create new industries and promote the development of the economy, science and technology, just like Steve Jobs and Apple did."