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Home is where the heart is

By Yu Ran | China Daily | Updated: 2013-03-01 10:32

While many Chinese businesspeople have adopted a foreign nationality or obtained permanent residence overseas as a means of expanding trade, most choose to stay in China for reasons related to family and work, as Yu Ran reports from Shanghai.

Home is where the heart is

[Li Feng/China Daily]

Although he has held a permanent resident's permit for Italy for more than a decade, Yang Changyi, 50, prefers to stay with his family and run his shoe-trading company in China, rather than emigrating.

To maintain his business, supplying footwear to Italian clients, Yang flies to Italy almost every month for meetings with buyers and potential partners as he looks to expand the market for his wares.

"Having a permanent residence permit for Italy enables me to take flights abroad any time I have to deal with an emergency. That allows my businesses in both countries to operate more efficiently," said Yang, speaking at his home in the manufacturing hub of Wenzhou in Zhejiang province.

Yang applied for permanent residence in 2002 by registering a company in Italy. His wife and daughter obtained their permits two years later. "At the beginning, I applied for the permit purely because I needed it to move my business forward quickly. It has allowed me to meet increasing overseas demand during the past decade by exploiting the advantages I've gained through networking with Chinese footwear suppliers," he said.

Having contracts with hundreds of shoe manufacturers in Wenzhou, Yang is reliant on his Chinese business partners and he is determined to keep a close eye on their activities.

Over time, Yang realized that he made a wise decision more than a decade ago, one that gives him a second option in terms of where he can base himself in the years to come, should he choose to leave.

Yang said he has noticed an increasing number of people following the same path as him; obtaining permanent residence overseas, but remaining in China for family and work. When his daughter graduated from art school in Milan last year, she decided to return to China to live in Shanghai and work as a designer.

Talking about his future plans, Yang said he is unwilling to leave China permanently because he couldn't bear the loneliness. He sees his Italian permanent residence permit primarily as a back up plan.

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