Chinese technician Qi Hong landed in Buenos Aires two years ago with only a vague notion of what Argentina was like. But he was clear about his objective: sharing China's technological progress with a key trade partner.
"After my experience here, I sense there are very good ties between the two countries," said Qi, adding: "I want to further improve the relationship through our project (and) teach Argentinians about our culture and advanced technology."
Qi and his fellow technicians traveled to Argentina's northern Jujuy Province, where they have been building the Cauchari photovoltaic (PV) plant with technology and financing from Shanghai Electric Power Construction (SEPC).
Located in the heart of Argentina's high plains, more than 4,000 meters above sea level, Cauchari will boost the country's clean energy and cut down harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by at least 325,000 tons.
But the bilateral project -- part of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative to develop global infrastructure and promote international trade -- goes beyond the transfer of technology to promote people-to-people exchanges and cooperation between the two distant cultures.
"Now I know this culture better. I used to know Argentina only through the media," said Qi, who comes from China's northeast Hebei Province.
Since 2017, Jujuy has hosted a group of 25 young Chinese employees of SEPC, including civil and electrical engineers, builders, designers and interpreters.
Most of them reside in a house in the provincial capital San Salvador de Jujuy. Just steps away are the project's offices, where the Chinese work side by side with their local counterparts, as well as experts from Spain, Italy, Peru and other parts, who are involved in the plant's construction.
According to Wang Tieshan, who came from central China's Henan Province to work on the project, the Belt and Road Initiative is providing opportunities for "the world to find out about China's advanced technologies and hardware."
At the same time, it is helping foster political and cultural ties between China and South America's second-largest economy, he said.
The solar plant, which is set to become operational next year, is expected to create about 1,500 direct and indirect jobs, linking an even larger community with the Chinese-backed project.