When diners step into Turka Cafe in north China's Tianjin Municipality, they are often drawn to the restaurant's signature adornment, a Turkish blue eye.
"In Turkey, blue eyes are believed to bring you happiness," said Baktiyar Tynybek, 26, owner of the Turkish restaurant, adding that he has opened three restaurants in Tianjin since 2020.
Tynybek is from Kazakhstan and had once lived in Turkey. He came to China in 2013 at the age of 17 for higher education. Espying bright prospects in China's consumer market, Tynybek decided to start a business in Tianjin after graduating from a local university.
With the help of a Chinese investor, Tynybek began his entrepreneurial adventure and opened a bar in 2017. With business flourishing, he was all set to open a Turkish cafe cum restaurant in early 2020 along with his friend.
However, the COVID-19 outbreak disrupted their plan and the opening of the restaurant was postponed until March 2020 when the epidemic was under effective containment.
"China has done a great job in containing the spread of the virus. During the epidemic, the restaurant landlord even waived part of my rent. I'm confident about my restaurant business," Tynybek said.
The restaurant was an instant success upon its opening, attracting flocks of customers as well as social media influencers. "Many guests said the place is pretty romantic and they were thrilled to eat authentic Turkish food in China during the epidemic," Tynybek said.
After tasting success, Tynybek opened two more Turkish restaurants in the city.
"Authentic food ingredient is a key reason for the success of my restaurants. An open Chinese market ensures that I can purchase authentic Turkish commodities," Tynybek said.
Three years of entrepreneurial experience have boosted Tynybek's confidence in China's business environment, spending power and industrial capacity.
He has now set his eyes on a new goal; he plans to explore business opportunities in trade and logistics in south China.
"I feel attached to China and grateful to this country. My future life will be closely tied to the country," Tynybek said.