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Brazilian PhD holder starting a business in Wuhan | 巴西博士留汉创业

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2022-11-25 18:26 来源: ChangjiangWeekly

  "Traveling by plane is the only option in Brazil, but in Wuhan I can choose from amongst many more convenient means of transportation," says Brazilian Renato Peneluppi, a PhD holder, about his recent high-speed rail trip from Wuhan to Shennongjia.

  “在巴西,如果要旅游,就只能选择坐飞机。武汉没有这个问题,出行真的很方便。”最近,巴西博士任途(Renato Peneluppi)从武汉出发,乘坐高铁来了一场神农架之旅。

  In his eyes, Wuhan is not only a transportation hub, but also an ideal place for entrepreneurs to build up their businesses. "With a highly intensive reserve of talents, Wuhan has the potential to become one of China's economic centers and even one of the world's in the near future."


  Peneluppi being interviewed Photo by Xia Junjun

  'Wuhan will get better and better.'


  In 2010, Peneluppi came to Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) to study for a master's degree in Public Administration with the idea of learning about China's successful rapid development, and then continued to pursue a doctorate.


  As a newcomer to Wuhan, he was deeply impressed by the active pace of urban construction and development. He recalled that when he first arrived at HUST, there was a large pond of water near the university campus. He fell asleep on the bus on his way back to university after staying at a friend's place for two weeks. When he opened his eyes, he saw a building that was about two or three stories tall standing where the previous puddle had been. "I couldn't believe my eyes that a two or three storey building had been built within two weeks. It's just as the city slogan says, 'Wuhan, different every day'." This pond was later developed into the Optics Valley World Plaza.


  His aspiration to stay in this vibrant city after graduation was further strengthened by his father who came to visit him and said, "Stay here, as Wuhan will get better and better."


  Peneluppi at East Lake Scenic Area Photos provided by Peneluppi

  Flying over global time zones from Wuhan


  In 2013, Peneluppi keenly noticed that as China was ushering in economic transformations, more high-tech companies were coming to Wuhan, and the Wuhan market had an increasing demand for high-tech and international talents. In the same year, he met his current business partner, the founder of Wuhan Hansheng Guanghua Culture and Education Co., Ltd., who also expressed a wish to start up an international education business in Wuhan. Therefore, after graduating with a doctorate in 2018, Peneluppi officially joined the company as the head of overseas business. His work includes managing overseas experts and providing support for Chinese students living and studying abroad.


  Peneluppi (left) and his partner at China International Import Expo

  "A major challenge of doing international education is to overcome the time zone problem." Peneluppi says that during the overseas summer course season between May and August every year, the company needs to deal with a large number of calls, paperwork, and partners from different time zones around the world. "Sometimes, I leave the office at 8 p.m. and have more work to do later at home." His last video meeting was at 10 p.m., part of his challenging, yet enjoyable, experience working with a flexible working schedule.


  The Wuhan company has expanded its business to Xi'an, Shanghai and other cities, and set up branches in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. After the outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020, the company had a very difficult period, but this also brought it new opportunities. "We tried online courses in 2014, but failed. But now the model has been revitalized and it has saved us. Today, our professors can have courses online for our students in any time zone."


  Looking back on the past 12 years, Peneluppi concludes that what is being witnessed is China's rise to becoming a world power, and China's transition from poverty alleviation to common prosperity. "Witnessing this process itself is so moving. I am very proud to witness these changes with my own eyes." He revealed that the company will begin its market development of public relations in the future. "I hope to help our partners from Brazil and other Latin American countries build post-pandemic relations with China, especially with Wuhan."


  (Edited by Ye Shiyu)