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Formula for success

China Daily | Updated: 2014-04-29 08:10

Hengdian Group, a private company founded in 1975 in Zhejiang province, runs a few hundred enterprises, ranging from electronics to pharmaceuticals. It is best known for its film and entertainment enterprises, especially the Hengdian World Studios, a movie-theme park that attracted 10.8 million tourists in 2013 and has been dubbed "China's Hollywood".

Piva sees a crucial role for culture in businesses and human relations. In his office in Milan, he hosts training for young Chinese employees from Hengdian Group and brings Italian scholars and students to China.

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Piva likes watching popular Chinese films such as Lost in Thailand and Finding Mr. Right, both blockbusters reflecting modern Chinese people's sense of humor and emotions.

He made friends with many Chinese directors and actors, especially young talents.

"Older generations in European countries universally have stereotypical views of China with roots in images of Chinatowns and cheap commodities. It is hard to change their views," Piva says. "But young people are different. They like to accept new things without bias.

"My 12-year-old son in Italy watched Lost in Thailand, I was surprised that he understood it and laughed out loud. China should export its cultural influence with universal understanding to the young generation in Europe."

"Business is important to connect China and Europe, but it is unstable and unpredictable. Culture is the only way to create a reciprocal dialogue and mutual understanding in a steady way," he adds.

With that in mind, Piva started to play an important role as a cultural missionary to bridge China and Italy.

In collaboration with the Catholic University of Milan, he organized Italian students to visit Hengdian World Studios in Jinhua, Zhejiang province, and Hangzhou and Shanghai.

Piva also cooperates with the Zhejiang government and Zhejiang University to create more opportunities for students on both sides to learn more about each others' cultures.

He organized a number of important European business missions to visit Zhejiang province and the Hengdian Group in particular, in order to intensify the sharing of know-how and to start new projects.

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