As the Belt and Road connects countries and people, China is becoming a destination of choice for the young and ambitious.[Special coverage]
Since graduating from Renmin University of China in Beijing, Khisamutdinov Maxim, from Russia, has been working for delivery company SF Express in Shenzhen. He is in charge of logistics to Russia and Ukraine.
In 2014, when he was new to the company, about 10,000 express packages were sent to Russia every day through SF -- today, the number exceeds 200,000.
Maxim recalled that before Chinese couriers began delivering to Russia, it could take a month for a package to be delivered. Today, packages sent through SF only take about seven days and at a fraction of the cost of major western delivery services, he said.
Pareng Kwan Sim Santi, came to Beijing in 2004 and got her bachelor's and doctorate from the University of International Business and Economics.She now works for China's leading smartphone maker Xiaomi, dealing with users in Indonesia, collecting feedback and helping engineers in Beijing to make their products more attractive to the Indonesian market.
She joined Xiaomi in 2014 and helped Xiaomi launch Indonesian versions of their smartphones tailored to local culture, helping to make Xiaomi the third leading smartphone in Indonesia. Xiaomi now manufactures handsets locally, bringing about jobs and increased taxes to the country.
Xiaomi sells phones in more than 30 Belt and Road countries. Pareng is proud to be part of this expansion and is constantly assailed by friends back home seeking freebies.
The Belt and Road is not a one-way street. Young entrepreneurs are well aware of a gargantuan market in China hungry for their local brands.
Miras Kilybayev, 25, from Kazakhstan, is deputy director of Jinsi Oil operating in the bonded zone at Alataw Pass bordering Kazakhstan in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Jinsi Oil is one of the largest agricultural companies in Kazakhstan and last year, he came to China to expand the company's business.
Kilybayev learned Chinese at Tsinghua University and chemical engineering at Beijing Institute of Technology. After graduation he returned to Kazakhstan, but deep down, he knew he would come back to China. "The whole world is looking at the Chinese market. No one can afford to ignore it," he said.
The oil plant began production in July last year, exempted from customs duties and value-added taxes through the bonded zone.
"We will open a flour mill and a poultry farm next to the oil plant and bring more quality agricultural products from Kazakhstan," he said.