Expatriate in Changsha: Cristiano Varotti
Cristiano Varotti has been in Changsha, capital of Hunan province, for four years. As a government representative from Marche, Italy, he works to strengthen cooperation between Marche and Hunan in commerce, culture and tourism.
Marche is one of the 20 main administrative regions in Italy, with five provinces and 1.5 million people under its jurisdiction. Its per capita income ranked fourth in the country, despite a comparatively small size.
Cristiano Varotti [Photo/hn.chinadaily.com.cn]
Marche and Hunan have been increasing cooperation in recent years.
In 2011, the two sides agreed to cooperate in machinery, modern agriculture, environmental protection and fashion.
In October 2013, Marche inked a deal with Hunan to promote the province’s environmental monitoring system and proceeded with extensive cooperation in pollution, soil restoration, and technology transfer.
Varotti said the two sides are eyeing more cooperation in modern agriculture and creative arts. “Last year, we signed an agreement with Hunan Food and Drug Administration, which is significant in promoting agricultural products and food safety,” he said.
Varotti is also promoting Italian wine and leather shoes. He said that leather shoes from Marche have good quality and account for almost 40 percent of shoes made in Europe. Also, the region’s signature dish Vincisgrassi and its white wine Verdicchio are both famous.
“Every year we organize some events, like wine tasting sessions, culinary courses and fashion shows,” said Varotti.
In June 2014, Hunan and Marche jointly held an exchange event in Changsha, exhibiting Marche’s agricultural products and Italian designs, wine tasting, and sailboarding. Italian cooks offered handmade cookies to local residents.
Varotti said there will be similar events this year to help locals in Hunan appreciate Italian products, like wine, agricultural products and shoes.
Italy is interested in Hunan as a place for investment, said Varotti. He said that Marche is helping Italian and other European companies establish business relations with the province.
“When it comes to investment, economic costs and traffic conditions are the top concerns for international companies. Hunan has advantages in both aspects and that is why many international investors are interested,” said Varotti.
He said the Hunan government is offering support to international business and the province boasts low labor costs and an advantageous location. As a developing province, Hunan has more market potential.
“Hunan has a prospective consumption market as good as the ones in Guangdong or Jiangsu,” said Varotti. He said Marche will continue expanding cooperation with Hunan and help introduce more European investors.
Marche would like to offer jobs to local people, said Varotti, adding that many companies in the region plan to recruit Chinese workers through the Marche’ office in China.
“If Marche wants to succeed in China, it is necessary to have young Chinese involved,” said Varotti. Hunan people are sensitive to the market and easy to communicate with, he said, adding that job opportunities at Italian companies are attractive to young jobseekers. They will help build a stronger bond between Hunan and Italy and better promote the province’s international exchanges.
Edited by Zhang Qiong, Andrew Ancheta