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At 18, my dream begins in China

facebook twitter linkedin | Updated: May 09, 2024

Name: Alexandre DUBOS

Nationality: France


Alexandre DUBOS, a French national, went deep into the study of Chinese culture at the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) in 2005. In 2012, he founded the brand French Street, assuming the role of general manager, and contributed to the promotion and sales of French wines in China. In 2013, he collaborated with Liu Dayi, the founder of a renowned media company, to create the musical "The Little Prince", which became a landmark cultural project for the 50th anniversary of Sino-French diplomatic relations. In 2023, carrying forward the spirit of Sino-French friendship, he joined hands with Liu again to present a gift, the single "From Chang'an Street to Champs-Élysées", for the 60th anniversary of Sino-French diplomatic relations.

Below is his story:

Feeling lost or facing challenges, we must stick to our dreams. This is my story of studying in China as a French guy, and it is also the story of many young people like me.

My father inspired me to study in China with vivid descriptions of China's history and development prospects. I was filled with curiosity and anticipation, and my desire to explore China was sparked.

Upon arriving in China, I was devoted to learning Chinese. My Chinese friends told me about the UIBE. After the campus visit and thorough investigation, I decided to apply.

Studying at UIBE feels like a mixture of sweet memories and challenges. After all, it nurtured the dreams deep within me.

I was able to continue my education through direct admission to a master's program, yet I made another choice. In my first year as a graduate student, I started my own business and ultimately chose to be wholeheartedly dedicated to it to pursue my innermost dream. Since childhood, I had dreamt of becoming a successful entrepreneur to explore unknown territories and create my own future.

My initial venture was in the field of French wine. I noticed that many people around me were confused about how to purchase high-quality French wines and how to pair them with food. They needed my advice and assistance, and some even directly asked me to order wine from France. I turned this potential into my first entrepreneurial project, which quickly achieved success.

I attend a wine tasting event. [Provided to]

Back in 2010, China's imported wine industry was considered a blue ocean. Thanks to my proficiency in Mandarin and unremitting efforts in market observation, I capitalized on the wave of French wine trade.

The wine trade did encounter market fluctuations though, especially during the pandemic. The competition grew fiercer and profit margins gradually shrank. Being in a foreign land and facing daunting problems left me feeling helpless and lost. To brave the wind, I adjusted my operation strategies, drew lessons from failures, and grew more resilient and courageous.

China's drinking culture impressed me a lot during the process of starting a business here. Chinese people enjoy discussing business over drinks, and more often than not, business deals are sealed at the dining table. It was something I had never experienced before, yet I believe that Chinese culture is richer and more diverse. Business partners in China often become good friends, yet in the West, it's much harder for them to connect on a deeper level­; interactions are mostly limited to the professional sphere, lacking emotional resonance and, to put it frankly, can be somewhat detached and lacking in passion. This is why I prefer dealing with Chinese people when it comes to discussing business.

I spend good time with my Chinese friends in Paris. [Provided to]

While initially choosing to engage in wine trade business, I gradually realized that my true passion and interest lie in cultural exchange. Wine is a fascinating element of French culture, which led me into the new realm.

I decided to reorient my career through an innovative approach. I initiated and organized a touring exhibition of the French classic "The Little Prince", paying tribute to this timeless work, which has garnered widespread love worldwide with its profound philosophy and artistic charm. The exhibition has received acclaim from audiences in over a dozen cities in China. Through the exhibition, I hoped to inspire deep reflections on life, love, and responsibility, while deepening people's understanding and appreciation of both Chinese and French cultures.

Additionally, my friends and I have crafted a single titled "From Chang'an Street to Champs-Élysées". Chang'an Street, as a major thoroughfare in Beijing, carries the profound history and rich cultural heritage of China, while Champs-Élysées represents a cultural symbol of France and even Europe. We aim to convey a simple yet profound message through the song: no matter where we come from, we can find resonance in cultural exchange and understanding and we can connect the world through the power of art.

Finally, I would like to say to my fellow international students that studying abroad is a precious opportunity. It not only hones your abilities but also allows you to meet people from all walks of life and broaden your horizons. Do not be afraid of challenges, because each challenge is an opportunity for growth. Believe in yourself, move forward bravely, and you will discover that the future is filled with infinite possibilities.