"I love the North China University of Technology (NCUT) very much for its excellent language teaching environment and beautiful campus," said Azamat, an international student from Tajikistan.
Majoring in business administration, Azamat studied at NCUT in Beijing ten years ago.
When explaining why he came to study in China, he said, "Though my elder brothers pursued their studies in other countries, my father, who worked in a government department in Tajikistan, realized the potential of China and suggested that I should study there."
To my surprise, over the past few years, China has released a number of policies helping international students in China find employment and start a business after graduating from school, Azamat said.
Thanks to the advantageous conditions, after four years of studying at NCUT, Azamat started an import and export trading company in Shanghai, becoming one of the many international students who have set up a company in China.
"In the beginning, we focused on the import and export of shoes and shoe molds, establishing cooperation relationships with more than 30 factories in China. I spent most of the time visiting shoe factories and mold factories all over China for business negotiations and purchasing.”
What I learned at NUCT helped me a lot. In addition, the experience of receiving Tajikistan businessmen during my time at NUCT was also useful, preparing me for running my own company, he said.
I think the smooth operation of business in China should be attributed to the great convenience provided for international students and entrepreneurs, such as simplified procedures and relevant preferential treatment, he said.
"Officials at government departments are very patient, and they try their best to solve my problems, so I have hardly encountered great difficulties in the process of starting a business," he added.
In my opinion, the location of a company is very important, therefore, I set up companies in Shanghai and Tashkent for their advantageous location, Azamat explained.
Shanghai is an important transportation hub, which makes it easier for me to communicate with customers. It is also very close to Fujian Province, the largest shoe producing area in China. Tashkent is an important transportation hub in Central Asia as it is in the center and is very convenient for exchanges and cooperations with neighboring countries, Azamat said.
China's shoe industry boasts a much higher level than that of other countries in Central Asia. Doing shoe business in China allows me to learn about shoe manufacturing technologies, and I can purchase equipment and raw materials easily, he said.
For Azamat, the company in Shanghai has been profitable for years, but what’s more important is that the company also helps him establish good cooperation with related companies.
At the beginning of 2020, Azamat went back to Tajikistan to visit his family, but the sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic prevented him from returning to China.
Affected by the pandemic, his business faced a great challenge, Azamat found that many manufacturers that depended on the import of Chinese raw materials were unable to get the goods due to the impact of the pandemic. Thanks to his wide cooperation network in Shanghai, Azamat seized the opportunity to become the raw material supplier of many shoe manufacturers in China.
In spite of the impact of the COVID-19, Azamat has not only found his way but has also opened the market in Tajikistan and Central Asian countries.
He opened a shoe factory with a partner in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. With a reliable operation model, his shoe factory has become known locally and exports a large quantity of shoes to neighboring countries.
I produce shoes and do wholesale business in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Recently I also sold shoes to some distributors in Russia and Ukraine, Azamat said. In the future, I aim to produce five million pairs of shoes annually and strive to develop into the largest shoe company in Uzbekistan.
"Just like the Chinese dream in the hearts of Chinese people, I have to work hard to realize my dream," Azamat said.
Azamat is very clear about the future plans of his company.
“I am very careful in choosing partners in business. I will cooperate with them for the next 20 or 30 years, so I must choose the most reliable partners."
It is also very important to be fluent in Chinese, Azamat said. A deep understanding of China’s cities and rural areas and their cultural background and communication habits is also necessary.
Successful entrepreneurship requires frequent communication with people, so local culture and habits are vital to business cooperation, he explained.
"China is my second hometown and I do hope to return to China soon. My two daughters are going to kindergarten in China," said Azamat who has a deep feeling for China where he studied and is pursuing his dreams in business.