BEIJING, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday left Beijing for a state visit to Ecuador at the invitation of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa.
Xi will be the first Chinese President to visit Ecuador since diplomatic relations were established between the two countries in 1980.
The following are some key facts about the bilateral relationship:
Since establishing diplomatic ties 36 years ago, the two countries have supported each other at regional and international fora and maintained close cooperation.
Cooperation between China and Ecuador in trade and finance has yielded great success. China is now the third biggest trade partner for Ecuador, while Ecuador is China's important energy partner in Latin America, a major destination for Chinese investment and financing as well as a market for contract work.
Bilateral trade volume reached 3.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2015 and products including bananas, prawns and flowers exported from Ecuador are favored by Chinese consumers.
China's non-financial investment in Ecuador reached 6 billion dollars at the end of March. Ecuador invested in 42 projects in China, with a combined investment of 8.63 million dollars.
More than 90 Chinese companies operate in Ecuador, and some have been involved in the country's biggest projects, such as the South American country's largest hydroelectric plant.
Of the eight hydropower stations under construction or finished, seven were built by Chinese firms, which has helped turn the once energy-poor country into an energy exporter.
Chinese companies also developed Ecuador's national emergency response system ECU 911, which was of key help in the aftermath of the powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake that devastated towns along the north coast in April.
Personal and cultural exchanges between China and Ecuador are also advancing.
Currently, around 70,000 ethnic Chinese live in Ecuador, while 500 Ecuadorian students study in China.
Ecuador, which ranks among the world's top five countries for biodiversity, received 18,200 Chinese visitors in 2015.
In August, Ecuador and China waived visa requirements in a bid to increase two-way tourism, in yet another sign of closer ties.