Lying on the south bank of Taihu Lake, the city of Huzhou in Zhejiang province is a natural haven surrounded by breathtaking verdant mountains and cool, clear waters.
A broader interest in Chinese culture, a booming investment environment and ecological living conditions have spurred new employment opportunities in the region.
With the continued support of the reform and opening-up policies, more and more foreigners are moving to Huzhou to live and work, and start a family or a business.
These people have contributed to the rapid development of the city, and helped to increase trade and cultural exchanges between Huzhou and the rest of the world.
Two years ago, 26-year-old Iranian Mehraz Karami set up a painting studio in a guesthouse in Shanbei village, Suixi town, Wuxing district. By day, Karami travels to the bamboo forests of Chashan Mountain to sketch, while by night, he immerses himself in his studio.
When he feels tired, he grabs a breath of fresh air at his front door, where the cold winds blow in from the mountains and boost his creative inspiration. Karami says that it was Huzhou's clear waters and green mountains that drew him to stay and work as an independent rural artist.
Vinod Kumar Yadav, a yoga instructor from India, is Huzhou's resident internet celebrity and influencer who has many online followers. He has stayed in many cities and didn't want to leave after coming to Huzhou's Changxing town three years ago.
He feels that the ecological environment there is particularly suited to practicing yoga, and he is comfortable with his surroundings. Yadav has taught hundreds of students over the years, and he especially enjoys teaching outdoors.
Seven years ago, a 28-year-old Polish woman named Jessica married a man from Maji village, Tianhuangping town, Anji city, and became the first foreign wife in the village.
"Peacock" Kelly (Gertrude Kellen Shang in real name) from Africa also chose to make Maji her home. Today, Kelly is one of the most popular teachers at Anji Tianlue Foreign Language School. Charles Meneust from France built the village's first homestay, the Bamboo House, in Daqingwu village, Mogan Mountain, Deqing county.
In 2012, Lee Byung Nam, a South Korean piano tuner, came to Luoshe town, Deqing county, Huzhou. Dubbed "the hometown of pianos in China", he moved there to serve as the technical director of the Zhejiang Yueyun Piano. Lee can tune the 88 keys, over 220 strings, and more than 8,000 parts of a piano to achieve the most accurate sound. Every piano made by Yueyun must be tuned by Lee before going on sale.
In Changxing New Energy Town, Tarui Hisaki from Japan served as the chief expert at the Chilwee Group's new energy department, and worked with Chinese experts to make breakthroughs in several key technical areas in the development of lithium-ion batteries. During last year's National Day, Tarui was presented with a Friendship Award by the Chinese government. This is the highest honor for foreigners living in China.
In 2008, Australian Terry Newman and his wife came to Huzhou from Canberra and set up a store called Environmental Wood to produce environmentally-friendly flooring in Wuxing district. Since then, Terry has laid down roots in Huzhou. At the age of 64, he is still busy in the factory every day. Terry says that it is rare to find such a good entrepreneurial environment as he has in Huzhou, and he intends to work there for a few more years.
For 11 years, Terry and his wife have long been accustomed to the life in Huzhou, a small city with a good business and living environment. The clean waters and green mountains there not only carry their yearning for "poetry and life afar", but also fulfills their entrepreneurial aspirations in China. From Terry's point of view, the boom in Huzhou is attracting more and more foreigners to pursue the golden life on the shores of Taihu Lake.