Dimash Kudaibergenov being shown a Chinese traditional teapot by a waiter in a Sichuan hotpot restaurant, Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan province, Feb 18, 2017.
A young Kazakh singer has become phenomenally popular in China this year, leading Chinese audiences to learn more about the largest landlocked country in the world.
The musical envoy is Dimash Kudaibergen. In January, he performed in Singer, a talent show made by Hunan TV, and his beautiful voice quickly gained more than 3 million Chinese fans.
In fact, his links with China began in 2015, when Dimash, as he is known, sang for President Xi Jinping during the Chinese leader's state visit to Kazakhstan.
Now Dimash is so well-known in China that he even has a nickname, "Hasakesitanxiaogege", which translates as "Little Kazakh brother".
His popularity was partly responsible for a surge in the number of Chinese following the Sina Weibo account of Kazinform News Agency, a major Kazakh news portal. The numbers soared by 5,000 in just three months.
While Chinese people are not unfamiliar with their northwestern neighbor, Kazakhstan isn't as well - known as many larger countries.
Xi's 2015 speech boosted interest in visiting Kazakhstan, and the first Chinese tour groups began heading to the country in August. More Kazakhs are showing an interest in China as well.
As the first Chinese TV show to be broadcast in the Central Asian country, Singer has also strengthened links between the two countries.
Born in Aktobe city, Dimash is already famous in Russian-speaking countries, such as former members of the USSR, and his growing popularity in China has made his Kazakh fans even prouder.
According to a Kazinform report, many fans have visited the Kazakhstan National Academy of Arts, where Dimash studies. The academy set up a large LED TV in the open air, so people could watch Singer.
On the streets of Aktobe, huge photos of the 23-year-old celebrity hang on the walls of many buildings. They all bear the slogan, "Support from the motherland", written in Kazakh.
Mira Nazbekova, who works for a local energy company, said the Chinese TV show has helped more young Kazakhs to improve their knowledge of China. However, many local people have been learning about the Chinese language and culture for many years as a result of the strong ties between the two counties.
There are four Confucius Institutes across Kazakhstan, according to the website of the Office of the Chinese Language Council International.
"More Kazakhs, especially young people, are choosing to learn Chinese as a foreign language in school and university," Nazbekova said.