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From People's Daily
Chinese find opportunity, adversity in Latin America|
April 06, 2010
The development of the Brasilia Chinese company is a textbook example of the success of Chinese entrepreneurs in Latin America. With China's economic development, there is a growing Chinese population in Brazil, Argentina and other South American countries. Most enterprises generally started as small businesses. Wuzhao Xiao, of the Brasilia Chinese Overseas Chinese Association, told us that five years ago when he first came here for business, there were fewer than 20 Chinese, but now there are at least 100.
Most of Brazil's Chinese businesses import from China or the local Chinese businessmen. There is a closed network of importers, wholesalers and manufacturers in China. Products move from the Chinese suppliers overseas to the Chinese wholesale shops and then they are sold throughout Brazil. Chinese products, with their high quality and low prices, are popular in the lower class families.
After a few years, Chinese businessmen were able to accumulate wealth to buy houses or shops. Chinese businessmen began to enter industry, set up factories or operate restaurants, supermarkets, and further expand the scale of operations.
There are Chinese shops, which imported goods similar to those found in Brasilia shopping centers, throughout Latin America. On March 25th Avenue in Sao Paulo, the largest city in South America, Brazil Customs Street in Rio de Janeiro and Peru's Chinatown in downtown Lima, Chinese restaurants are everywhere. All around are Chinese signs and Chinese store names. In Argentina, there are thousands of small supermarkets operated by Chinese.
However, there has been somewhat of a backlash against Chinese businessmen. The cheap price of Chinese goods in Latin America has upset some of the local vendors. Some local businessmen even complain to the police. Therefore, some Chinese shops in densely-concentrated places are often raided by local police, especially before the hot sale season.
Besides trouble from police, there is intense competition among Chinese businessmen. Zhaoxiao Wu said that when he first came to Brasilia, business was easier. But now more and more Chinese businessmen crowd the market for business, so the profits are decreasing each year. Some Chinese businessmen attach counterfeit famous brand names on their products, resulting in complaints by these brands.
Chinese shops are frequently raided by the police, which has sparked anger and protest among Chinese businessman. But due to language problems and failure to understand local law, they are unable to defend themselves. Angry Chinese businessmen have to surround police to prevent them from confiscating goods.
There are many conflicts between the Chinese and police. In this case, a number of overseas Chinese organizations came forward, organizing people to discuss methods, propagate relevant legal knowledge and rights and to remind Chinese businessmen to operate legally. In the meantime, the Chinese business community is also negotiating with local government and the police, demanding they release the confiscated goods.
Chinese embassies and consulates in Latin American countries are also involved. They visit Chinese businessmen to understand the situation and communicate with local government and police. They also facilitate understanding between Chinese merchants and the police and then resolve conflicts.