We’re on Hong Kong Island. We just took the peak tram up the 428-metre-high Victoria Peak where we have a great panoramic view over the city. I throw a coin into one of the binoculars and scan the buzzing city below us. On the other side of the bay there’s a ferry leaving the Star Ferry Pier taking commuters to the island. I scan the Kowloon skyline and see the Peninsula Hotel.
On this side of the bay I can see the landmark building of the Bank of China and follow a double-decker tram making its way towards the Happy Valley horse racing track.
We’ve set a meeting with Alwin Tetteroo, an entrepreneur who has his roots in Amsterdam, but has been traveling the world for quite some years now.
He has spent a lot of time in Brazil and China, speaks Portuguese and Chinese and has an indept knowledge of both cultures.
We recognise him from his LinkedIn profile picture when he exits the peak tram. We start our conversation while still overlooking Kowloon.
“I love both countries, Brazil and China,” he says, “although they are very contrasting. Brazil is about ‘joie de vivre’ and lifestyle… and China is about business and professionalism.”
“So you created your business ‘Cross Oceans’ as a bridge between both countries,” I ask.
“I have clients in Brazil and suppliers in China,” Alwin continues. “Let’s say, a Brazilian company is looking for a certain product. I will start a search for the product, for example on the Canton Fair in Guangzhou, which is a huge bi-annual exhibition with almost 60.000 stands.”
“Wow,” I say, “probably it is not easy to find a specific product.”
“Actually, finding a product is the easy part,” Alwin says with a smile. “Finding a product with the right quality and a reliable supplier, is something else. After the desired product has been selected, I will audit one or several factories and check their quality, on aspects like production process, working conditions and infrastructure. Once the supplier has been selected, the order can be placed.”
“And that’s where your intervention stops?” I ask.
“Not yet,” Alwin says, “sometimes I check the quality of the products during the production process and even the loading before it goes onto the container. My job ends when the export papers have been excepted by the Brazilian shipping agent.”
“Is there a lot of travel involved between Brazil and China?” I ask.
“Actually, there is, on a regular basis. The most important part of my job is to build and to maintain good relations with my clients in Brazil, but also with my suppliers in China. I have dinner with them every once in a while to sustain the relationship. Trust and confidence are the keywords.
“Talking about dinner,” he continues, “I know this great restaurant down town… are you guys hungry?”
Tags: Alwin Tetteroo, China, Brazil, Brasil, Brazil-China connection, Alwin, Tetteroo, Canton Fair, Guangzhou, Cross Oceans, cross, oceans, trade Brazil China, Trade Brasil China