Jaziel Romero Rodriguez, logistics manager of Italika's Chongqing office, introduces business cooperation with Chinese suppliers in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, July 18, 2022. (Xinhua/Tang Yi)
CHONGQING, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- When Mexican businessman Jaziel Romero Rodriguez joined Italika, a major motorcycle company in Mexico, he did not expect that a business trip to China in 2008 would be prolonged from six months to 14 years and lead him to his "second hometown."
"At that time, our company was developing both its motorcycle and automobile businesses. They thought the automobile business would have a promising market. However, the motorcycle one eventually became a trump card," said Rodriguez, 49, logistics manager of Italika's Chongqing office. "And this should be owed to our cooperation with China."
The company had tried to import foreign motorcycles into Mexico several times, but all attempts were in vain due to unaffordable purchase prices, he said.
After many rounds of research and comparisons, China seemed to be the best choice for the development of the new business. Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, the country's major motorcycle manufacturing base, attracted the company's attention.
Mere five years after Rodriguez arrived in China, the company's share in the Mexican motorcycle market reached 50 percent, and now that percentage has hit about 70 percent, thanks to the cooperation model.
For more than a decade, Italika has had its motorcycles made in China.
The motorcycles produced in China are now sold via Italika in more than 1,000 shops in Mexico, winning local consumers' hearts for their competitive prices and excellent quality. Particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, more and more people are choosing more economical vehicles, which has led groups of new clients to buy Chinese motorcycles.
"In 2008, we shipped 800 containers of Chinese motorcycles to Mexico. Last year, there were more than 10,000 containers. This year, we have already shipped more than 6,000 containers to Mexico," Rodriguez said.
Italika's success is peaking people's interest for the motorcycles the company makes in China -- particularly those made in Chongqing, China's "Mountain City." Some other Mexican companies are also turning to Chongqing to begin cooperation with local manufacturers.
In 2021, China exported approximately 12 million motorcycles with internal combustion engines, with a total export value of about 7 billion U.S. dollars. Among the exports, about 1.42 million motorcycles were sent to Mexico, according to the General Administration of Customs.
"If you want to develop a motorcycle business, you cannot bypass China," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez has decided to settle down in China and contribute more to cooperation and exchanges between his old home and his new one. "I think Chongqing is my second home," he said.
"China has developed so fast, with more and more new buildings and bridges shooting up, which makes people feel amazed," Rodriguez added.
He is now vice president of the newly established Chongqing Chapter of the Mexican Chamber of Commerce in China.
"I hope I can help more Mexican companies come to Chongqing and bring more local products to Mexico," he said. And these endeavors will not be limited to the motorcycle business. ■