Feature: U.S. entrepreneur plants deep roots in China

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STARTUP HUB

"China is like a mysterious country. Most people don't understand it well and I wanted to come and see for myself," Ramasami said. He moved to China in 1003.

Life as an artist has helped Ramasami gain a self-fulfillment that a corporate life could not provide.

As an experienced professional in information technology, Ramasami considers today's China as a platform to exert his talent.

BEIJING, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- Having lived in China for the past 15 years, U.S. engineer Sridhar Ramasami has successfully turned himself into an entrepreneur and artist, and gained a level of fulfilment he couldn't reach back in the United States.

Ramasami regards China, and Beijing in particular, as a good option for overseas investors.

Moving to China meant more than just developing new products here. China is also where Ramasami became an artist.

When he worked as a foreign teacher at the Hexi University in Zhangye, the faculties of the art department appreciated his paintings and offered to help the artist hold his first exhibition in the city.

by Xinhua writers Huang Kangyi, Zhou Xiaoli

Speaking of his time in the United States, he said that "socially I think it wasn't such a rich life, so I didn't find satisfaction."

"China has been growing a lot and before it's like more industrial and more about manufacturing, and now it's going more and more into tech," he said.

Living in China, the artist also derived inspiration from Chinese traditional art, such as Xuan paper, a traditional form of art paper for Chinese calligraphy and painting.

"As an engineer, they (his bosses) tell you what to do and you do it," he said. "In art, I can express myself, and I can be myself."

FOLLOW THE HEART

Based in the capital city of Beijing, Ramasami owns a studio in Songzhuang, a small town on the outskirts of the city, where he develops software and creates artworks.

ARTISTIC FULFILMENT

With new materials, new ideas and new designs as their features, Ramasami deemed his paintings more appealing to well-educated people, saying "they are more open-minded and more exposed to new ideas."

Ramasami traveled a lot across the country over the years. It was in Zhangye, a city in northwest China's Gansu Province, that his artistic talent was first displayed.

After many years of corporate life as an engineer, he quit his well-paying job in the United States and completed a 9,000-km-long journey by foot. The trail began from Gaspe in the Canadian province of Quebec and ended in Key West in the U.S. state of Florida.

Ramasami has held over 100 solo exhibitions of his paintings across China. The highest price for a piece of his painting exceeds 3,000 U.S. dollars.

Taking Beijing's Zhongguancun high-tech area as an example, the number of high-tech businesses has exceeded 20,000, among which 100 are listed.

"Xuan paper is fairly strong. It can hold the ridges and doesn't become flat. That's the reason I started with Xuan paper," he said, adding that Chinese people share the same resilience.

Along the journey, Ramasami kept himself away from the hustle and bustle of city life and listened to his inner voice. "That voice for me was to follow my heart," he said.

"Now we are testing it on site. Some of the people who are using it say they will buy it," the 100-year-old said confidently.

His first exhibition was advertised in the local newspaper and attended by thousands of people.

Now Ramasami is preparing for his newest high-tech product, an information-sharing device via Wi-Fi connection.

Born in India, Ramasami graduated from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology and received a master's degree in engineering from the University of Delaware in the United States in 1990.

"The opportunities are extremely good in Beijing. It is a startup hub," he said.

"I followed the stock market. I knew at that time a lot of news was about China," Ramasami said, adding that he wanted to know what China and Chinese people were like when the country was growing.

His Chinese wife also joined as a cofounder who handles administration, sales, company registration and so on. Last year, she gave birth to their only daughter, Maya.

News about China back then kept him informed of its economic take-off.

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