Across China: Foreign youth chase their Chinese dreams

Source: Xinhua| 2018-04-18 20:54:38|Editor: ZX
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HANGZHOU/SHENZHEN, April 18 (Xinhua) -- Inside a traditional Chinese house with stylish green bricks and black tiles in the city of Hangzhou, Nikk Mitchell and his team are pursuing their dreams in the VR industry.

Canadian Mitchell established his company in June 2017 and now has a team of over 30 employees from countries including China, Poland, Russia, the United States, and Uganda.

"Hangzhou is a combination of modern and ancient styles, and you can see art, history, and culture everywhere, and it inspires our VR development," he said. The team is considering combining the art of calligraphy with VR technology.

With a dream to discover the world, Mitchell arrived at China in 2006 at the age of 18.

In 2012, he was amazed by a VR video he saw online, and decided that he wanted to work in this industry.

He started to study VR technology and found an online community to meet people who shared the same interests.

Thanks to China's encouragement of innovation and entrepreneurship, Mitchell is seeing his VR dream turn into reality.

Mitchell's company is located in Dream Town, Hangzhou's entrepreneurial cluster, which offers free workspaces and other services such as financing and business advice.

"Some entrepreneurs in Canada still don't have their own offices after years of work," he said.

For 28-year-old Russian Artem Zhdanov, China is also where he is pursuing his dreams.

After graduating from college with a major in Chinese language, he left his hometown in Siberia and moved to Guangzhou, China's southern economic powerhouse.

Over the past six years, he has built a Russian-language news website about China, co-founded a consulting company, and set up an online store on Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao.

The news website now has 100,000 monthly visits, and the products he sells online -- such as T-shirts, cups, and chopsticks with interesting Chinese phrases -- have become popular with expats living in China.

"My childhood dream was to be a diplomat. Now my website and Taobao store are like bridges connecting foreigners with China."

"China is an ideal place to start a business. As long as you have an idea and the resolution, you can easily build a business here," he said.

Zhdanov wants to connect Russian entrepreneurs with investors and incubators in China. "There are so many unicorn companies in China, and the government has been provided great support for hi-tech development. I would like to tell more Russian makers that instead of only looking at Silicon Valley, they can also make their dreams come true in China."

According to the Expat Explorer 2017 Report published by HSBC, a move to China, which is one of the world's economic powerhouses, offers expats numerous career and income advantages.

Seven in ten expats in China said the country offers strong job prospects compared with only five in ten globally. Half of all expats interviewed in China said they have more chances to acquire new skills here than at home, and they earn significantly more than the global average expat salary.

The number of foreign employees in China has increased at a staggering pace over the past decades. More than 900,000 foreigners were employed on the Chinese mainland in 2016, according to official data. In the 1980s, less than 10,000 foreign experts worked in the country every year.