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A Quality Life in Yantai: Michel Humbert
2008-07-13 18:47:59     CRIENGLISH.com

Michel Humbert, Senior Advisor at Yantai Investment Development Board and a torchbearer in the Yantai leg of the 2008 Olympic torch relay, answers questions during an exclusive interview with China Radio International. [Photo: CRIEnglish.com]

As more and more westerners flock to metropolises such as Beijing and Shanghai to travel or to settle permanently, Michel Humbert, a 71-year-old French business man, says Yantai in eastern Shandong Province is the best place to live and invest in China.

In his office at the Yantai Investment Development Board, Humbert told CRI reporters that the quality of life in Yantai is one of the best in China.

"The coastline is beautiful and the quality of people, quality of life, quality of education, quality of hospitals -- all that is among the best in China."

Humbert has lived in China for 20 years. During his past eight years in Yantai, Humbert has seen dramatic changes taking place in the costal city, once known as a "sleepy" town, he recalled.

Humbert works as a senior adviser at the city's investment development agency, serving as a middleman between the Yantai government and foreign investors.

His previous experience at several of the world's top 500 joint ventures has helped him in his mission to bring new international investors into Yantai.

"Yantai is very rich in the potential of new investment and new business," Humbert said. Most investors in Yantai are expending their businesses.

Humbert had helped Yantai establish business relations with 800 European enterprises by 2003. He has brought more than 20 investment projects to Yantai in the wine, electronic and food industries.

He also founded a "French Circle" in which westerners share their life and business experiences in Yantai.

For his dedication to the city, Humbert was awarded the title of "Honorary Citizen" of Yantai in 2002. Three years later, he received the National Friendship Award.

In 2008, Humbert was selected as a runner in the Yantai leg of the Beijing Olympic torch relay.

"I would like to represent all the westerners in Yantai and wish China to win," the Frenchman said.

As a representative of Yantai's citizens, Humbert said he welcomes people from all over the world to "discover Shangdong and finally to invest in Shandong."

Now well-off in his life in China, Humbert is a very popular figure among Yantai locals.

"We called him 'Lao He' genially. Almost everybody in Yantai knows him. He has a great personality. We enjoy working with him," says Sun Dejie, a Project Manager at Yantai Investment Development Board.

Humert said he likes the Chinese way of doing things very much, especially the people's determination and fortitude.

"My Chinese colleagues here are extremely dedicated, committed. So that is an example. Yantai is extremely committed, Shandong is extremely committed, China in general is extremely committed. So when they want to do something, they do something one hundred percent, I say, and they don't spare any effort to achieve."

Humbert said he wished to express this quality with a Chinese idiom he recently learned: "I am of one mind with Yantai".

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