Jian Zhong Yin is already regarded as a "bit of a local" in Kununurra.
Mr Yin, the vice-president of Shanghai Zhongfu and KAI chief executive, has visited the Kimberley town many times in recent months as the Chinese company nailed down the rights to develop 13,400ha on the Ord River.
He will set up home in Kununurra and take on the role of project director as KAI turns land dotted with boabs and brahman into farms to grow sugar cane.
It is a long way from bustling Shanghai for Mr Yin, a former local government official with a history of managing road construction and urban landscape reconstruction.
But Mr Yin has already shown the locals he isn't afraid of getting his hands dirty.
He set tongues wagging by grabbing a shovel on a very hot day and digging what Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls described as a "fairly serious hole" to get an understanding of the soil profile.
There is plenty of hard work ahead for Mr Yin, who must strike a deal with native title owner the Miriuwung Gajerrong Corporation to allow the project to proceed, develop irrigation channels and farm land, and then deal with the notoriously difficult conditions in the Kimberley in trying to build a $450 million sugar mill with a cogeneration power plant.Speaking through an interpreter yesterday, Mr Yin said: "I thank the Government for placing their confidence in our team and our vision for northern Australia."
'The West Australian' is a trademark of West Australian Newspapers Limited 2013.
All rights reserved.
Select your state to see news for your area.