Cao Guorong: Overseas experiences give me deeper understanding of China
Editor's note: East China's Zhejiang province is renowned for its large international population. Aloft on the wings of China's reform and opening-up policy, a group of Zhejiang people have gone abroad to make a living since the 1970s. As this year marks the 40th anniversary of the policy, the Zhejiang website (www.ezhejiang.gov.cn) is launching a series of stories about overseas Chinese who are originally from Zhejiang, as well as those who are active in the province's development. Stories courtesy of Zhejiang Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese and Zheshang Magazine
Cao Guorong, an entrepreneur from Wenzhou, Zhejiang province [Photo/Zheshang Magazine]
"After 40 years of reform and opening-up, our country has made remarkable achievements and the status of overseas Chinese in foreign countries has risen notably as well," said Cao Guorong, an entrepreneur from Wenzhou, Zhejiang province.
Like those of many other people in the city, Cao's business career, from running a restaurant to building a trade business in Peru, is full of legendary stories.
In 1981, China's central government announced the decision to develop private economy, which inspired Cao, then 21-years-old, to break into the catering and entertainment industries as a waiter. Five years later, he contracted for the operation of the restaurant in a hotel in Wenzhou and in 1988, he opened the city's first karaoke bar and tried a new mode integrating entertainment and catering.
His business experiences in China helped Cao gain sharp insights into the ever-changing commercial sector. In the early 1990s, as the tide of international trade rose, he seized the opportunity and set up a trade company, reaching out to imports and exports with Peru.
In the South American country, Cao realized the gap that existed between China and the outside world at that time. "Though Peru was politically unstable, its people's living conditions were better than ours," he said.
Cao then constructed a shopping center selling Chinese commodities in the Peruvian capital Lima, which proved a big success.
Today, after decades of development, China has become the world's second largest economy and a main trade partner of more than 130 countries and regions. It is the largest export market for goods from Peru. Cao thinks that in the future there will be great potential for China-Peru cooperation in the mining industry and infrastructure construction.