Businessman boosts China-Italy cooperation in clothing
Fashion in transit
Published: Jun 23, 2022 05:45 PM
A general view of Changshu, East China's Jiangsu Province Photo: VCG

A general view of Changshu, East China's Jiangsu Province Photo: VCG

As a Chinese businessman currently living in Italy, Xu Xudong has imperceptibly become a fashionista, yet the 42-year-old thought big: how to act as a bridge between China and Italy.

Xu is the president of DinDin Brand Management S.R.L, headquartered in the eastern Chinese city of Changshu, and he is also the chairman of an Italy-based Chinese entrepreneurship association.

His firm is mainly involved in brand marketing and management in the fields of fashion apparel and accessories, helping Chinese fashion brands go international and brands in Europe enter the Chinese market.

Xu went to Italy with his parents 25 years ago, when many Chinese people took advantage of China's reform and opening-up to go abroad and start businesses overseas. 

He was deeply amazed by Italy's well-developed clothing market.

"I made up my mind at that time to help Chinese clothing brands enter the Italian market," Xu said, adding that he has been engaged in the clothing trade business since then.

When Xu returned to China looking to start a business in 2006, he found that the domestic clothing brands were innovating and new brands were rapidly emerging, ready to flex their muscles on the international stage.

Then he set up his company in Changshu, Jiangsu Province. Home to more than 5,000 textile and clothing enterprises, the city has a large apparel market and a complete clothing production and supply chain.

"One thing that I have learned from the Italian fashion industry is that an international vision is a must for Chinese brands to be recognized worldwide," Xu said. 

In 2013, Xu collaborated with Changshu's local brand Bosideng to help promote the brand overseas.

He and his team continued to use methods like advertising and runway shows to build a reputation for the Chinese brand's cost-effectiveness in the high-end market in countries like Italy. Now clothes by Bosideng are sold to more than 70 countries and regions.

"China is a huge consumer market, and an increasing number of European brands want to enter it," Xu said, noting that in addition to helping Chinese brands go global, he also took the initiative to communicate with some European brands.

In 2020, Xu's company inked a deal with the Italian brand, Butnot, aiming to bring this street fashion brand to the Chinese market despite the pandemic. 

His company has also opened a shopping center selling international brands in Changshu.

"Under the Belt and Road Initiative [BRI], I can feel the deepening of cooperation between China and Italy," Xu said. 

"You can see more and more Chinese elements emerging in the Italian fashion industry."

Xu was invited as a representative in a governmental negotiation in 2019, during which a sister-city relationship was established between Changshu and Italy's Taranto.

"It's my mission to bring more Chinese styles to Italy and introduce more charm of the Italian fashion to China, and the mission has yet to be completed Xu said.