China's opportunities through foreigners' eyes
Hazza Harding is a star on Chinese TV and radio. Even before the Australian became a host on the largest TV network in south China's Guangdong Province eight years ago, he had garnered internet popularity with video clips of him singing Chinese songs.
"China is full of opportunities if you work hard on what you want to do," said the founder and president of the Guangzhou Chapter of Australia-China Professionals Initiative.
China is Australia's largest trade partner. More and more Australians have come to China for exchanges and entrepreneurial opportunities.
Eight years ago, it took Harding a full day to make a trip to visit his Chinese schoolmate's home in a county of Hunan Province, neighboring Guangdong.
"Yuanling County left me an impression of being really rural and remote. Today, it is very much urbanized with high-rise buildings, and getting there has become much more convenient," Harding said.
Kim Nae Sang, 45, has been living in China for 23 years.
"I came as a backpacker for sightseeing in the 1990s when I was a university student. During my trip, I foresaw China's opening-up reform would exert great economic vitality," he said.
Despite his relatives' dissuasion, he found his first job in the city of Xiamen, east China's Fujian Province. The work in an outdoor supply trade firm allowed him to witness how China transformed from being short of supplies to "the world's factory."
In 2003, he decided to try his entrepreneurial opportunities in the northeast China province of Jilin. "It has an obvious geographical advantage," said Kim.
After years of preparations for integrating the local industrial advantages, university research power and his own connections with his home in the Republic of Korea (ROK), Kim became board chairman of the Changchun China-ROK Industrial Park in 2007.
"We are building five industrial chains in the park, including medical beauty, health food, clothing design, art and culture and environmental industries, through cross-border cooperation," Kim said.
Both of his children study in a Chinese school in Changchun.
Thirteen years ago, when Hassan Rezaei was selling carpets at his store in Isfahan, an ancient Iranian city long noted for its fine carpets, he met a Chinese girl who would change his life.
The girl, who later became his wife, showed strong interest in Persian culture and Iranian carpets, a cultural heritage with a history of over 2,500 years.
After a visit to China, Rezaei decided to transfer his business to his younger brother so he could move to China to seek his happiness.
In Beijing, he opened a store selling Iranian carpets. He later turned it into a "Persian cultural arts center" decorated in traditional Iranian style. He said many Chinese learned about Persian culture and made plans to visit Iran after visiting his shop.
"China and Iran have been exchanging with each other for thousands of years. I hope my store can be a cultural bridge to keep enhancing mutual understanding," Rezaei said.