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Simon at his office in Optics Valley in Wuhan, Hubei province. [Photo/Xinhua]
Recently, the Friendship Award ceremony was held in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. One of the honorees was a British man who began his business in the Optics Valley in Wuhan, Central China"s Hubei province.
His name is Simon Haworth, the CEO of Dynasty Biotechnology and the only foreign winner in Hubei. He was also awarded the Yellow Crane Friendship Award by the Wuhan government in 2015. He considers himself a bridge connecting Wuhan and Europe, helping both of them know and learn from each other.
On Nov 24, Haworth was invited to the stage at Civic Auditorium and shared his 5-year experience in Wuhan with nearly 400 audience members.
Haworth said he found Wuhan more international every time he visited this city in the past 5 years. He also discovered that the number of foreigners in Wuhan is growing, especially in the Optics Valley where he can see more foreign faces than ever. “Wuhan is becoming international. It is different every day and I can feel it."
Haworth visited Wuhan for the first time in 2012 and established his own biotech company in the Optics Valley. In 4 years his business has developed rapidly in China.
However, Haworth until recently had no idea about the long bond between his family and China. In fact, the Haworth family has been connected with China for six generations, that is, 140 years from 1875.
In August 2014, Haworth went back to visit his parents and talked about his business in Wuhan. His father said to him, "when you were two, your grandparents once visited China and they went to Wuhan. They had kept lots of diaries and videos, you know that?"
The first pages of his grandmother"s diary record their experiences in China. It is recorded that they visited China twice in the 1960s. Wuhan was the first destination of their China tour in 1963 when they visited the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge and the Wuhan Iron and Steel Corporation.
The family book said that Haworth"s grandmother"s grandfather first started to have business with China in the reign of Guangxu. Haworth"s father also told him that his grandmother"s nephew used to have extensive business links with China in the 1990s, when the reform of market economy just started in China.
"I have been to many other cities in China, but Wuhan is my final choice. What attracts me so much here is the associated industries, the investment environment and the rich resource of talents from universities," said Haworth.
"China is now in its best time of development. China represents the world." Haworth also said he hopes that his children can come to China, learn Chinese, and carry on the family ties with China. "It will be their huge advantage in the future."