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A foreigner negotiates his way to business success in China

Daniel Castillo de Diago Photo: Billie Feng

“I don’t want to be rich, but I want to earn enough money to live a happy life in China.” Fluent in six languages, Daniel Castillo de Diago is running a promising business in Beijing.

Castillo de Diago likes to be called Danny. He was born in Ecuador in a multicultural family with his father being a Spanish Ecuadorean Lebanese and his mother an Argentinean Italian, so he describes himself as more of a “mixed person.” He went to high school in the US and then received higher education in Europe. After graduation he worked in quite a few countries in Europe, such as Italy, France and Spain.

Danny doesn’t like to be an employee. He has never worked for anyone else since he was 23 years old. “Build your own dreams, or someone will hire you to build theirs,” he said, “I really don’t feel good about the latter.”

Moving to China

Danny had learned about China and Chinese culture before coming here, but he admitted he didn’t think about moving to China to start with. “China seemed to be a faraway country and people around me said it was undeveloped and dangerous and Chinese people were savage.” However, because his father was a well-known politician in Ecuador, Danny had a chance to meet the Chinese ambassador in Ecuador and the ambassador invited him to come to China in 1997. Danny felt happy and excited about the invitation.

The first thing Danny had to do after he arrived in Beijing was to learn the Chinese language. He taught himself for about half a year, and then joined the Capital University of Economics and Business (首都经济贸易大学) for a master’s degree in Enterprise Management. Most of the courses were taught in Chinese and Danny was the only foreigner in his class. “My Chinese wasn’t good enough at that time so I pushed myself to make quick progress,” Danny said.


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