GUANGZHOU, China, July 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- One man, one trade show, a unique 47-year-old history. When Peppino G. Cocozza, popularly known as Giuseppe, first arrived in China in 1966, his hair was black and red guards filled the streets of Guangzhou. After attending an early installment of the Canton Fair that year, Cocozza fell in love - both with the show and the country of China. Rarely has a business opportunity blossomed into such heartfelt and longstanding devotion.
To call Cocozza a Sinophile would be an understatement. "No one loves China more than I do," says Cocozza. "I'm not a foreigner. I have a Chinese heart."
Cocozza's interest in China was inspired by Marco Polo's travel journals, which he read avidly before his first trip. The mysterious oriental civilization held a powerful allure for the Italian-born Swede, who founded his own business, lnter Agenturer AB, in 1961. After learning about the Canton Fair from a friend five years later, he jumped at the opportunity to visit the country of his dreams.
These days 74-year-old Cocozza's hair may be white, but he remains as sprightly as ever. Having attended the Canton Fair nearly 100 times since 1966, he was awarded a special prize at the 100 th installment of the Fair in 2006, when he met Premiers Zhu Rongji and Wen Jiabao. Keeping it in the family, he has even brought his son and grandson to the event, and frequently travels across China.Back in 1966 Cocozza spent a few thousand dollars on products from the Fair - these days Chinese goods cover the walls of his head office in Linkoping.