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Favio, a Columbian in Yiwu
Post Time: 17/12/2018

Yiwu hosts one of the largest population of expatriates in the world. There are over 13,000 international businessmen from more than 100 countries and regions with permanent resident status in Yiwu. The increasingly large population of international residents propels the innovation of city management in Yiwu—overseas traders participate in governing the streets in a new model of city management, the first of its kind in the country.

Last year, Favio was appointed as a street governor. The 58-year-old Columbian, who has worked and lived in Yiwu for over ten years, is among the first group of expat businessmen to monitor the streets and help create a better city environment. Whenever he sees a clutter of objects piled up in front of stores, he talks to the shop owners and reminds them to clean it up and leave the streets clear; when he sees trash on the road, he picks it up and cleans the streets. He has been doing this job for over a year.

Favio’s experience of managing the streets enables him to make friends with people of many different origins, which strengthens his sense of belonging in Yiwu. “Many people have asked me why I want to do this work. I always tell them: because this community is my home. I feel good when it’s clean and tidy,” says Favio.  “Home” is what Favio feels in Yiwu. Before he came to China, the “Made in China” sign on many products in Columbia triggered his interest in China. Therefore, he studied Chinese language and history.

In 2002, Favio came to Yiwu with his customers for the first time. Within two weeks, they successfully purchased the goods they needed and sent them to the United States. He later rented an office and warehouse in Yiwu. In 2006, he decided to stay. When his business in Yiwu was established, his family moved to Yiwu as well. Favio’s wife is an excellent cook, and the couple often invite their employees and friends home for dinner.  

In 2012, Favio’s friend Ugo came to Yiwu. Ugo is a chef who makes delicious Latin dishes. Favio encouraged him to start a restaurant and lent him a kitchen to make Latin foods, which were then packed and sold in Futian Market. When the food sold out quickly every time, the two hatched a plan to open a restaurant.

In 2013, they rented a store with an area of about 10 m2 and named it “La Fonda,” meaning “inn” in Spanish. It became very popular and attracted many customers. A year later, they moved to a larger store closer to the market. With flavorful dishes and continuously updated menus, their restaurant has become even more popular. This year, they opened a new branch named “The Amazing Taste” (in Chinese) on Chouzhou North Road, which is a busy area with many potential customers. “Latin food is still unknown and somewhat mysterious to many Chinese people. I hope they will want to taste it when they see the name of our restaurant.” (By Huang Yujie, translated by Sun Yin, edited by Kendra Fiddler)

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