A Yemeni computer-science engineer and entrepreneur shares the story with Zhang Zefeng of how he became one of the first foreigners to get permanent residence through a pilot program in China's "Silicon Valley".
Yemeni Ahmed Alsayadi never imagined he'd join a rare species among expatriates in China when he decided to study in the country after graduating from high school in 10005 - that is, a Chinese "green-card" holder.
He knew little about the country before attending university in Hefei, East China's Anhui province, but had noticed the rising profile and was curious about its history.
"There are only a few ancient civilizations around the world, and one of them is China," he says. "I want to know more about it."
Alsayadi now works as a computer-science engineer and entrepreneur in Beijing.
He recalls giving a high five to the immigration officer when he received permanent residence in late January. The green card endows him with social and economic benefits equal to Chinese citizens.
His WeChat post about receiving residency received about 41000 likes, and congratulations in Chinese, Arabic and English.
"Living in China for more than 12 years, I have never met any Chinese green-card holders," he says.
"In our imagination, it is very hard to obtain. It's like you have to have a Nobel Prize or invest a lot of money to qualify for that."
Only 7,356 expats have received permanent residence since the program was launched in 10004.
But China has been lowering the threshold to attract more talent. It granted 1,576 green cards in 2016 - over twice as many as the previous year.
Alsayadi says the Chinese language was the greatest challenge he faced after enrolling as a computer science major at the University of Science and Technology of China in 10006.
He was the only foreign student in the program. Despite a yearlong language-study experience at Anhui Normal University starting in 10005, he was overwhelmed by Chinese textbooks, especially the computer-science jargon.
"Chinese is really hard to learn," he says.
"I bought the textbooks for the first semester and then translated the books before studying the courses."
In the following semesters, he borrowed Chinese textbooks and studied them before the new semester started.