Liu Guanghua, an entrepreneur from Ruian, Zhejiang province [Photo/Zheshang Magazine]
Every Chinese person in Italy must have heard of Liu Guanghua, a businessman from Ruian, a county-level city in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province.
Liu's father was one of the earliest private entrepreneurs from Wenzhou in those early days of reform and opening-up.
When he was a teenager, Liu saw the potential in the increasing popularity of soda drinks, and with the help of his father, he opened a factory for the development and production of soda.
"I was very young and I just thought it would be very satisfying to let people drink my soda," Liu recalled.
The experience of running a soda factory laid the foundation for Liu's later business experiences.
In the late 1970s, China opened its door to the outside world. The 21-year-old man, following the tide of going abroad for business opportunities, went to the Netherlands with capital and experience gained in China. Two years later, he travelled to Italy to make a living.
In 1996, he founded a trading company in the European country and engaged himself in the imports of garments.
Liu delved into the Italian customs, clothing styles and fabric prices, and selected some sources of goods from China. His efforts quickly brought him considerable profits.
Not satisfied with what he had already achieved, Liu launched his own brand. He invited domestic and foreign designers to learn the trends and popular elements at home and abroad and created the advantages of his brand "GH". Nowadays, "GH" has stores in dozens of cities around the world.
In 2000, Liu upgraded his trading company to a larger group with more businesses.
His successful career and good relationships with overseas Chinese in Italy made him a leader at a few overseas organizations. He served as a go-between for the development of Sino-Italian economic ties, especially with his hometown Ruian.