A magnitude-8.8 earthquake shook Chile on Feb. 27, 2010. It struck off the coast of south-central Chile and initiated a tsunami that devastated some coastal areas of the country, causing widespread damage and claiming more than 500 lives.
Alejandra Jara, an overseas marketing manager for GDU Technology Co. Ltd., a drone company in Shenzhen, was then a senior architecture major at the Universidad de Concepción in southwest Chile. She was working for an NGO called “un techo para mi país” (a roof for my country), which she had joined at the age of 17. Her work usually consisted of trying to attract sponsors to provide books, workshops, electricity, etc. to families that needed help.
“Almost all my country was devastated,” recalled Jara, who could not attend school because the earthquake had destroyed part of her university.
Eight months later, Jara met a delegation from China who came to help. “They told me to go to the Chinese Embassy to apply for the scholarship and ‘you will be in China in September.’”
She did, and she was in China that September, finishing her bachelor’s and then master’s degrees at Chongqing University. Later she found an internship in Shenzhen, and she has been here ever since.
“I found a job vacancy at GDU. They wanted one person for designing stores, exhibition and merchandising to take their products to the American market,” said Jara, who applied for the job and became part of their marketing team.
Focusing on high-tech companies, Jara took her team to the CES (International Consumer Electronics Show), the most important trade show for high-tech products in the United States. “When people see the presentation of my company at CES, they get surprised and ask, ‘Who did this?’”
Many Chinese companies have contacted her to get ideas about how to access the American and European markets.
“Things are different in Latin America: the app, the language, the function and the appearance. I tell them how to adapt their products to Western culture,” said Jara. “Sometimes they take more care in packaging than the product, but the most important things in the Western world are the quality and the functionality.”