CHONGQING, April 27 (Xinhua) -- Looking smart in his suit and polished leather shoes, Aykut Yazirli, a 35-year-old Turkish man, has kept up his habit of riding on a motorcycle to his workplace in Jiefangbei, a central business district (CBD) of southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, for over a decade.
As a white-collar worker, he regards the great contrast between a motorcycle and a suit as his reason for settling down in Chongqing. "I can enjoy both a relaxing life and huge career opportunities in the city," said Yazirli.
A motorcycle marked his start in this foreign city. In 2010, he was sent by a motorcycle company in Turkey to China in search of possible collaboration with a market with great potential.
At first, Yazirli worked in the southern Chinese metropolis of Guangzhou. Yet, the Turkish company soon realized Chongqing would be a better choice.
Chongqing is China's leading manufacturing base of motorcycles. As the city's hilly landscape demands high-performance vehicles, the local motorcycles became a suitable match for Turkish consumers.
Currently, nearly 70 percent of motorcycles running on roads in Turkey are made in China. Yazirli's company once helped export about 150,000 Chinese motorcycles to Turkey in just one year, about one-third of the total from Chongqing.
However, the promising young man chose to quit his job in the motorcycle company in 2015 and began to study Chinese at a local university in Chongqing. "I knew that no matter how outstanding I was in the motorcycle business, my life just centered on motorcycles. If I got a good command of Chinese, I could dream bigger," Yazirli explained.
After graduation, Yazirli tried running a business in the catering industry but finally decided to join the Asia American European Culture Exchange & Development Center (AAEC), an NGO promoting exchanges between Chongqing and the world.
"I have helped ten local companies to export cooling machines to Turkey, and five Turkish companies export fruits and crafts to the city," he said.
Leaving the motorcycle industry did not end Yazirli's love and passion for the vehicle. He is now a member of Chongqing's local motorcycle club and still cruising down the highways and swerving lane to lane across the city and its countryside.
"I love traveling in Chongqing; even its hamlets are so developed and beautiful. In a village in Nanchuan District, you can pick up fruits in an agritainment resort, and in Tongliang District, you can appreciate the vibrant dragon dancing," said Yazirli.
"I am addicted to the amazing city with more and more bridges, railways, and buildings shooting up," Yazirli exclaimed. "As long as you live here, you would never want to leave."
The motorcycle enthusiast also likes square dancing, a physical activity popular among middle-aged and retired women who perform natural movements to a musical accompaniment in open spaces in Chinese cities.
This activity should be well-received by the elderly in Turkey as they share the common desire to enrich their retired life, according to Yazirli.
He also wants to help more Turkish people learn about the successful Chinese experience in combatting COVID-19, the country's language, and traditional festivals. An increasing population in China is turning their eyes to Turkey for its colorful tourism experiences.
"I now have a bigger role, sort of like a public ambassador of the two countries and their peoples," said Aykut Yazirli. "I want to convey the right information and good messages about China, helping enhance the connections between the two countries in culture, education, business, and many other aspects." ■