An Italian Wine Merchant’s Love for Chengdu

Authors: Go Chengdu

2014-11-19

Wine, one of the indispensable drinks for western-style food, has been put on the Sichuan food menu in recent years.
“Chengdu people are highly receptive to new and exotic things. They not only love and spread their own culture, but also have their unique observations and insights into the blend of western and eastern cultures. This is the reason why I chose Chengdu to settle down,” said Mr. Vito Lo Castro, who is an Italian wine merchant and currently doing his family wine business in Chengdu after having retired from the Beijing Branch of Telecom Italia.
“International Chengdu attracts me to settle down”
“China is my second hometown, and I worked in Beijing for 11 years. I first came to Chengdu in 1997. The friendly Chengdu people, spicy food, and the folk architectures impressed me so well. After that I’ve been paying attention to its change and development. The city’s GDP has been growing fast over the recent years, topping the Sichuan province. And the Consulate General of the Republic of Italy in Chongqing is located in a city neighboring Chengdu, which has easy access to transportation,” said Mr. Castro.
Chengdu, as the center of science and technology, business and finance, and hub of transportation and communication in southwest China, has become the first investment destination of foreign countries’ chambers of commerce in China. It has attracted more than half of the Fortune Global 500 companies to establish business presence. Mr. Castro said, “Chengdu is a culturally diversified city. While it’s getting more international, it keeps well its original culture and life style. I chose Chengdu to do the business because of its inclusiveness and good prospect of internationalization.” His organic wine was very popular at the 15th Western China International Fair and is also sold well in Chengdu. “This shows once again that I made a right decision to do the business in the city, which could enable my fellow Italians to have a better understanding of Chengdu and fall in love with it.”
Captivated by the City of Panda
“In my home country, most Italians often talk about Beijing and Shanghai, but they do not know much about Chengdu. However, all of them know panda. I think panda is a gift from god! The Chengdu people live a laidback life as the giant panda does, but they never lose their pursuit of better-quality and tasteful life,” Mr. Castro expressed his love for the panda and the city of Chengdu.
The wine from Mr. Castro’s company is totally organic and natural. “The Chengdu people love a healthy way of life and like organic food. They have a very good taste for good-quality products,” Mr. Vito Lo Castro said.
“The wine from my family has a little bit spicy, just like the Sichuan food. I am a spicy food lover.” Like most foreigners in Chengdu, he always enjoys drinking tea in the sunshine in an outdoor teahouse at his leisure. His hometown Sicily, Italy is a sunny paradise, which is quite different from Chengdu with wet weather and high humidity. Nevertheless, he feels more comfortable in the city. “Basking in Chengdu is great enjoyment for me,” Mr. Castro said.
Tips for Starting Business from Vito
Have a better understanding of local culture and needs of potential customers;
Make more friends and find one or more local right-hand men;
Make a long-term plan to prepare for any policy change to come.

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