When Jozef Pandelaere came to northwest China's Qinghai Province a year ago, the 60-year-old carpet industry veteran was seeking nothing but a new life. Now, he has a bigger dream for Qinghai and himself.
"I want to enhance the status of Chinese Tibetan sheep carpets around the world," Pandelaere said." It is my dream to see Qinghai become the genuine home of Tibetan sheep carpets."
Last month, Pandelaere won the International Cooperation Award in Scientific and Technological Development in Qinghai, for his contributions to technological innovation in the production of Tibetan sheep carpets.
Born in Belgium in 1953, Pandelaere has worked for carpet companies in Belgium, the United States, Indonesia, Turkey and India. In March 2012, he became the manager in charge of production and management with the Qinghai Tibetan Sheep Carpets Group.
"The Tibetan sheep carpet is an artifact unique to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau," he said, praising the fine texture and bright luster of wool from Tibetan sheep. "What I'm doing here is combining technological innovation and managerial expertise with tradition."
The Tibetan carpet is made of the hair of sheep, cattle or camels. It is a distinctive product which is popular both home and abroad.
Pandelaere and his team are doing research on the printing of patterns onto the carpets, instead of the traditional method of weaving.
"This innovative breakthrough will improve productivity and bring about more vivid patterns," he said, joking that it would be as if the carpet were equipped with a high-definition screen.
The initiation of the project, according to Pandelaere, derived from the necessity of meeting customers' needs.
"Both people in the West and here in China now have a demand for quality products. Price is also important," he said, explaining that the project will deliver high-quality products at a reasonable price.
The program's initial achievements have already increased the company's output value by 80 million yuan (12.88 million U.S. dollars).
"The innovation will of course not impair the prospects for traditional hand-made Tibetan sheep carpets," Pandelaere said, explaining that the company only targets customers who shrink away from costly hand-made carpets.
"Without innovation, there would be no impetus for further development," the award winner added.
According to Pandelaere, the fact that his new home features opening up, cooperation and exchange and gives importance to technological investment, provides him with a wide platform.
"It was a great honor for me to get the International Cooperation Award this time," he said. "However, it does not belong to me alone. I'm part of a team that works so hard to accept and learn from differences and a team so dedicated to producing extraordinary carpets for the world."
Qinghai Tibetan Sheep Carpets Group has exported its products to more than 30 countries or regions. The company's output value reached 730 million yuan (about 117.55 million U.S. dollars) last year.