Guo Shenghua is a Qingtian native who gained business success in South America. [Photo/Zheshang Magazine]
Guo Shenghua is not a stranger to the overseas Chinese in South America. He is the person who brought Chinese goods to the South American market and the leader who helped Chinese people achieve prosperity in a strange continent.
Guo was born in Qingtian county, Zhejiang province, in 1955. In 1976, two years ahead of China's opening-up to the world, he moved to Cayenne, capital of French Guiana, to reunite with his family.
"I felt like I had come to another planet," Guo said of his first impressions of the region on the north Atlantic coast of South America.
He quickly overcame difficulties in language, culture and environment and settled down to run a watch and clock shop which had been passed down from his grandfather to his father.
However, after some time, Guo found it meaningless to stay at a small shop all day long. He began exploring the surrounding business environment with friends and found that goods in local shops, mostly from European and American countries, were expensive and scarce.
Guo thought there was a big business opportunity in selling Chinese goods to local residents. Seizing the opportunity when China opened up to the world in 1978, Guo purchased watches, bicycles, electric fans and daily necessities in the Chinese cities of Guangzhou, Shanghai and Hong Kong, and tried to crack the South American market with these commodities.
All things are difficult before they are easy. At that time, people in French Guiana knew little about China and even the Chinese people living in the region refused to buy Chinese goods.
However, this didn't discourage Guo. He believed there would be a market for high-quality and cheap commodities from China.
To enhance recognition of his goods, Guo decided to sell them through local shops.
"I wasn't anxious to earn money from these goods," the businessman said. He went to the shops from time to time to collect feedback from consumers. In this way, the Chinese goods gradually entered the local market.