Slice of pizza helps build China-Italy exchanges bridge-Xinhua

Slice of pizza helps build China-Italy exchanges bridge

Source: Xinhua| 2024-04-03 13:02:16|Editor: huaxia

NANNING, April 3 (Xinhua) -- As lunch time approaches, a pizza store named Call Me Pizza in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, sees a steady stream of customers and deliverymen. Kneading, sprinkling and baking are among the required tasks as store owner Maurice and his wife find themselves busy making Italian pizzas.

Maurice, from Rome, Italy, has been living in China for nearly a decade. He was invited to Nanning by Chinese friends purely by chance. Later, when he met his wife in Nanning, Maurice decided to settle down there.

"I started my business in China by accident. Every time I held a party, my friends loved my pizza and encouraged me to start a business. Their trust and encouragement enlightened me to open a pizza shop," he said.

Guangxi, where Maurice lives, has a good relationship with Italy. In 2017, Nanning and Italy's Crema established sister city relations, and the two sides have carried out extensive cooperation in various fields. Relying on the platform of the China-ASEAN Expo, bilateral exchanges between Guangxi and Italy have become increasingly close.

"I witnessed the increasingly close cultural, economic and trade exchanges between China and Italy since my arrival in China, which laid a foundation for my confidence in starting a business," said Maurice. He believes China's large population and strong consumption vitality combine to create good entrepreneurial prospects for the catering industry.

After efforts including market research, store selection, and product publicity, Maurice and his wife turned their idea into action and opened Call Me Pizza. "I think the name is interesting, simple and easy for consumers to remember," said Maurice.

However, at the beginning, they rented a small shop and only a few people came to the store each day. Maurice found it difficult to make ends meet at that stage. "Then we found a way to introduce our products through social media," said Maurice.

He and his wife chose to advertise their products on online social platforms such as Xiaohongshu, or Little Red Book, which is highly popular among young people in China, attracting many consumers to the store, while some online consumers also recommended the store to more potential consumers.

"In order to better expand our influence and visibility, we have also entered online food takeout platforms. Now, there are more and more customers, both foreign tourists and Chinese friends, in our store. Every time I see new and old faces, I feel happy," said Maurice.

With the consumer groups steadily becoming more diversified, Maurice constantly innovates styles and categories on the basis of traditional Roman-style pizza. "Many Chinese customers like durian or Orleans flavor. After market research, we have innovated durian pizza and Orleans Pizza on the basis of retaining the tradition, and now our business is booming," he said.

"I used to study in Italy and now I can eat Italian-style pizza in Nanning. I feel very close to Italy now. Now people can taste the exotic flavor without going abroad," said Li Han, a customer.

"Pizza has become a bond, which can enable me to make a lot of Chinese and foreign friends. Through the pizza store, more Chinese friends know about Italy and I also learn more about Chinese culture," said Maurice.

Maurice believes that food culture is the best way for people to get to know a foreign country or place. He hopes the store will become bigger in the future, so he can introduce more Italian culture to Chinese consumers.