XINJIANG: New generation of entrepeneurs

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Almas Polat
Almas Polat is a young Uyghur entrepreneur in the regional capital Urumqi.

From the series XINJIANG: Exploring China’s new frontier

The government believes employment creates stability and economic development, especially in China’s far western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Providing young people with more jobs can also give them a stake in the future. In our series on Xinjiang, reporter Han Bin profiles Almas Polat, a young Uyghur entrepreneur in the regional capital Urumqi. Polat says the problem there is not a lack of job opportunities, but basic job skills and some new ways of thinking.

From entrepreneur Almas Polat

Doing business is a lot like boxing: You have to know how and when to strike; You hit hard, but you hit fair… And you’re always looking for an opening.

Xinjiang is a place where dreams start, and where dreams come true. It’s remote and mysterious, so it seems hard to see it through. But this is a place full of opportunities and challenges. What prevent us from being successful are not the limited conditions in this region, but ourselves.

Almas driving a car

Almas: I think Xinjiang does not need a lot of CEOs. Xinjiang needs real entrepreneurs who understand markets. What it needs are good products and brands.

Xinjiang does not lack job opportunities or workers. What it’s really short of are the basic job skills, as well as new ways of thinking. For example, a good idea in more developed cities can be quickly transformed into profitable products. But that kind of transformation usually comes too slowly here, as most people do not feel the urgency to make any changes.

Competition is fierce elsewhere in the country, but most young people here do not have the courage and motivation to improve their living conditions. And they usually rely on their parents or the government to help them rise above the situation. These are some of the reasons behind unemployment in Xinjiang.

I think one of the key solutions to unemployment is to fundamentally change the ways of thinking. Young people in Xinjiang should understand what entrepreneurship is. It’s not difficult for changes to happen, as long as you want to make the changes, and as long as you have made the changes.

We are working on standardizing the production process, modernizing the management concept, and internationalizing sales methods. All this is to lift the veil of mystery from Xinjiang, and reduce the misunderstanding between different cultures.


Almas: I have hired a lot of local people. I don’t want to call them employees. I regard them as colleagues, who are creating miracles with me.

I have hired a lot of local people. I don’t want to call them employees. I regard them as colleagues, who are creating miracles with me.

The decor of my restaurant is not like ordinary Uygur restaurants that must represent a unique style of Islam. Instead, we are trying to create a new image that appeals to most customers.

It’s pretty much like watching TV and selecting a program. You certainly want to see a good program instead of searching for only Xinjiang programs just because you come from Xinjiang.

What makes my business a success is the pioneering spirit: never stop pursuing dreams, and always be ready to put our ideas into action. Credibility and integrity are the keys.

Some say I am wasting my talents in an unprofitable business in an underdeveloped region. But I think food is a rising industry in Xinjiang. And this industry is creating new leaders.

Making money should not be the only motivation to make changes. What is more meaningful is to share the benefits of development with society, and let this good fortune bring more changes to more people.

My story is only a reference for others to realize their dreams. Unless you don’t try, no one can say you can’t make it.

Xinjiang provides all the possibilities. We are not only dreamers, we make dreams come true.

Eric Schmidt on Chinese entrepreneurship

To discuss the growing wave of entrepreneurs in China and how they are changing employment and economics for the country, CCTV America’s Mike Walter spoke with Eric Schmidt, founder of China Entrepreneurs.