Our final day in Guangzhou was full of excitement as we raced from one end of the city to another. Cathy, Andrew and I had just come from Sun Yat-sen University, named after the Republic of China’s first president. It was a beautiful day as we set off for our meeting with Aaron Chu, Director of United Strangers in an industrial area of the city. We had met Aaron the day before at the Consulate office in Guangzhou; he told us what it is like being a successful Canadian entrepreneur in southern China.
The United Strangers office and showroom was located in an extremely compelling part of the industrial area in Guangzhou. The surrounding area had been revitalized from an old can factory to an urban, scenic shopping location. Aaron’s shop displayed variety of products that they ship to clients all around the world. He also explained to us how many of his products come from recycled materials such as the decks out of old fishing boats. These boat parts would be used to create tables, chairs, shelves and other household items. His shop contained a variety of other products ranging from knapsacks to lamps and painted art.
At this meeting Aaron was able to put me in contact with a clothing manufacturer as part of my mandate from Saint Mary’s University Students Association. I have been in contact with the manufacturer and we will be set to do business in the coming months. I was extremely pleased to have made a solid connection with a Chinese company. However, my biggest takeaway from this day goes far beyond the connection that was made.
This meeting with Aaron inspired me as a young Canadian. It was amazing to see this wonderful niche market that Aaron, someone who was living a similar life to me about a decade ago, was able to tap into. Hearing his presentation was good, seeing the small, growing empire he created brought an entirely new perspective to the way I now perceive entrepreneurship in China.