ATHENS - European businessmen are becoming more aware of China's growing influence when they seek business opportunities brought by the "China factor."
There is no sense to make any entrepreneurial move in the West nowadays without taking the "China factor" into consideration, Greek entrepreneur Kimonas Doukoumentzidis told Xinhua in a recent interview.
With a PhD in molecular genetics, the 34-year-old man had studied and worked in France, Germany and Switzerland for 15 years. He returned to Greece and started his own business last year after the outbreak of the European debt crisis.
"I felt the civic duty to return and help my country ... I believe entrepreneurship is the way to move forward," Doukoumentzidis said.
Aware of China's rising influence, he developed an Internet application software to promote Greek tourist destinations to Chinese travellers.
He said he aims to fill in an "obvious business gap" in the tourism industry between the two nations.
Chinese tourists made a total of 57.39 million outbound trips in 2010, up 20.4 percent on the previous year, according to data from China's National Tourism Administration (NTA).
Doukoumentzidis has been following closely China's economic and political development for years.
"China's strong economy and the progress it has made in the past five to 10 years have amazed me, because most countries would have to spend 50 to 60 years to realize similar achievements," the young entrepreneur said.
Doukoumentzidis is a vocal supporter of closer economic cooperation between Europe and China, believing that a new wave of Chinese investment in Europe and China's huge markets provide good business opportunities for both sides.