Entrepreneurs and students from other countries benefit from the Belt and Road Initiative

Updated 2017-01-24 09:54:37 Global Times

Many foreigners have benefited from China's Belt and Road Initiative. Local Chinese governments helped these people find venues, waive rent and had preferential policies.

For Dev Raturi, an entrepreneur from India, the launching of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (the Belt and Road) Initiative in 2013 transformed his life.

Drawn by higher earnings in China, the then 29-year-old came to Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province in 2005, where he worked as a restaurant waiter. Seeing the huge profits in the catering industry, Raturi later decided to start his own business.

But all his efforts to find a proper restaurant location came to nothing until 2013, when Chinese top leaders implemented the B&R initiative, which covers more than 60 countries in Asia, Europe and Africa.

The Xi'an government in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province reached out to Raturi at that time and offered him a venue to open his restaurant.

Xi'an, an ancient imperial capital and the starting point on the east end of the Silk Road, is one of the first cities that responded to the B&R initiative. The city started building a Silk Road Culture Street to introduce foreign businesses.

Raturi isn't alone. Under the initiative, now more and more foreigners along the Belt and Road routes are joining him to pursue a new beginning in China.

On January 12, National Development and Reform Commission spokesperson Zhao Chenxin said at a press conference that Chinese enterprises have invested more than billion, created more than billion of tax income and more than 160,000 jobs in the countries along the Belt and Road routes.

Golden age

In 2005, Raturi's job as a restaurant waiter earned him approximately 3,000 yuan (7) a month, three times of what he earned in New Delhi.

Then he came to Beijing where he worked in Chinese and Western restaurants and was promoted to manager. Before quitting that job to start up his own business, his monthly salary was 30,000 yuan.

In 2011, he started to search for a location to establish a restaurant of his own. But the search in several cities at the beginning had been in vain. Echoing the B&R initiative, the Xi'an government approached him with an offer, a site of 600 square meters and waived rent for the first year.

"The location is at the heart of the street. We got good deal from the mall management with very nominal rent and license support. The local government also supported us with the visa and tax cuts," Raturi told the Global Times.

The restaurant named Redfort quickly gained popularity, and Raturi opened another Redfort in the city in April 2015, before expanding the chain to other cities around the country.

Guests in his restaurants not only experience Indian cuisine but also Indian culture, with activities like yoga, handicrafts, celebration of Indian festivals and Bollywood dances.

Like Raturi, Vishal Bahekar, a doctoral student of medicine in Xi'an, also grasped the golden age of entrepreneurship. He established a 400-square-meter health center in the city, providing Indian-style therapy to Chinese customers with illness like rheumatism and rhinitis. He also offers yoga courses to help recuperate the body and mind.

Last year, with the help of the local government, he obtained an office that was seven times larger. And he is ambitious in bringing more Indian doctors to China and expanding his business.

The initiative had benefited Xi'an in return. Shangguan Jiqing, mayor of Xi'an, pledged in September last year to build the city into the most energetic and innovative place along the Silk Road, and achieve an import and export value of billion by 2020, nearly double that of 2015.

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