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Spanish Trader Sees a Bright Future in GZ
Foreigners in China

A traveler at heart and a trader by education, Eduardo Pol has visited an impressive array of countries. Touching down in China 2006 he's found love and job satisfaction in what he describes as a truly exciting country.

Born and raised in Barcelona, Spain, Eduardo Pol has always been passionate to see the world, and he took the opportunity whilst studying International Trade at the Pompeu Fabra University, where he spent the next four years traveling to Mexico, South America, Morocco, and England before finally returning to Barcelona. And it's just his insatiable thirst for exploring that has brought him to China. 
Eduardo made Chengdu, the capital city of Southwest China's Sichuan Province, as his first destination in the country in 2006. After traveling extensively throughout western China, Eduardo met "the girl, the one" after 9 months, now his wife following a 3-year relationship. Looking to stay in China for his wife, he taught Spanish as a language teacher in Chengdu. Shortly after he got married, an opportunity presented itself when a Spanish-based company approached Eduardo in 2010, enticed by his past experiences and the fact that he speaks fluent mandarin and wishes to stay in China. Seeing a great opportunity to get back into business, he took the offer and moved to Guangzhou at the end of 2010. 
Now, at the age of 29, Eduardo is the Executive Manager of Masso (Guangzhou) Trading Company, the parent company of which is Comercial Quimica Masso S.A, a Spanish family company founded in 1960. With its headquarters in Barcelona, Masso originally had its China office set up in the city of Shenyang in the late 1980s, relocated to Guangzhou in 2004, which then went on to become Masso's base of operations in the South East Asia region. Reasons attributed to the decision to relocate were due to the rise of costs of conducting business in the North of China, and its limits as a strategic location to expand. He went on to say that Guangzhou was the first choice destination for Masso, stating that conducting business in Beijing was difficult due to regulations and policies, and Shanghai was considered just as complicated as Beijing with its high number of foreign enterprises already there. 
Like for so many companies around the world, the global crash back in 2008 had required many to change their strategies to simply survive. Eduardo explains how before 2008, approximately 60 percent of their business was conducted in Europe and South America, and that turnover from the period of 2006-08 was at 150 million euros globally for Masso, that amount was 20 percent less in 2012. The Spanish enterprise is still profitable, and although seeing turnover slashed, as many of their sales fell across Europe, they have remained defiant and strong, by exploring new markets in both Eastern Europe and most notably in China. Its main dealings are in the formulation of agro-chemical products, wine and ceramics. Today, Masso's trading activity accounts to a "percentage of 80 to 20 between export and import, we are still doing a lot of business, it is very good," he states. 
"The most spectacular time in China is 1998-2004, this period was truly amazing in China, in how it was developing, all the manufacturers, businesses, all the export things," Eduardo relates. He also recalls a time where he had passed through Guangzhou on the way to Hong Kong, how Zhujiang New Town was at the time -- nothing but open spaces and farmland. Impressed by how vibrant the city is when he came back in 2010, he has described Guangzhou to be a "really quick" moving city focused on doing business "all the time, everyday". 
"Guangzhou is the gateway to Asia; it always has been for the last 200 years and will continue to do so in the future," he continued. Believing in the potential Guangzhou and Guangdong has, he emphasizes further how the company's decision to relocate from Shenyang to Guangzhou was the right one, in that it gave Masso an advantageous position to divulge into new markets in South East Asia and also as a point of entry into the interior of China. Eduardo adds that the fortunes of the company are gradually turning for the best, in that the strategic decision to move and adapt, has allowed them to account for their shortcomings experienced in Western Europe, and that they have strengthened business relationships with manufacturers and supplies who had also relocated to the South of China. Eduardo is very optimistic of the company's future despite the recession. 
Masso's main objective now is to develop their operations in the Chinese market and by exploring new markets, in cooperation with Chinese based suppliers, which Eduardo believes is a "win-win scenario", as the company can strengthen ties with suppliers and earn a moderate commission on the side, whilst helping their suppliers expand into new markets. Serving also as the Vice President of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in South China, Eduardo is in constant communication with the hundred Spanish member companies, supporting their efforts in doing business in Guangzhou and the Guangdong Province. 
For Eduardo, who had been accustomed to "living on the road", no single destination had truly captured his heart. Fascinated with Chinese culture, and in particular, traditional Chinese cuisine, he believes that many foreigners in Guangzhou would love it here as he does, if they opened up to Chinese culture, by learning the language and by simply enjoying life, rather than always focusing on business. "Guangzhou is an exciting place, China is a great place, you can never stop learning, it is full of surprises. Wherever you choose to go, there are so many different cultures, and all within one country, it truly has a lot to offer what ever it is you are looking for," he further adds. During his spare time, Eduardo and his wife enjoy a range of sports, walks in parks and socializing with friends in the many bars and restaurants Guangzhou has to offer. He describes Guangzhou as "really green, so many parks, so many trees, so much green in comparison to other big Chinese cities", and believes that under the right conditions, he can see Guangzhou become a home to raise a family, that is after all his priority.

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