Pebble Printing Group Founder: Why I’m Not Going Back to Live in China
I am the founder of a small printing business called Pebble Printing Group. For over two years, I have been the sole employee of this company, living in Shenzhen, China. I have worked and continue to work with Chinese teams to realize the development of a material called stone paper. I also print crowdfunding campaigns on traditional paper with Chinese printers.
I’ve lived outside of my native country, the United States, for over 8 years — five years in Germany, and the last three have been about stone paper and printing in China. I speak both German and Chinese fluently.
Now, after nearly a decade abroad, I have decided to permanently extend my vacation in the United States. This decision stares me in the face every day now, and I’d like to make an official statement about this massive change. This article will be as much about my personal life as it is about my printing business.
I’m confused by the reactions I see from people after having posted this news on Facebook. People are either very excited for my family or have been following my exciting travels since I left at age 18 (will be 27 this year), and are now waiting anxiously to see what the next step in this story is. But I think all of the people would equally like to know why I made this decision.
The truth is, America is an excellent place to live. It might be hard for us to realize that considering our own insecurities, but the longer I have stayed away, the more I have grown to appreciate the privileges we have. Especially now that I am considering marriage and a family, the space, safety, freedom, and independence of Americans is the obvious choice. Life in America is more spacious than Germany, and richer than China.
This became very clear to my entire Chinese family unit consisting of my beautiful girlfriend and my corgi. After my first arrival for Christmas vacation on December 2nd, I had morning and night video calls with my girlfriend for 30 days. Without any words, watching America in the background for those 30 days showed her too that this is where we should raise a family. So when we saw that the Chinese quarantine on my originally planned return trip was extended to one month, we made the decision to bring our lives here, whatever that meant.
That’s more or less where we find ourselves now. I won’t go into the deep details of what we’re planning, but basically my girlfriend will be applying to US schools in April to continue her Master’s and I will be continuing my printing career here. If all goes well, she will have a visa to the US by August. Her absence until then will determine where printing will take me, as long as I can catch her when she lands in America.
As for my printing business, I will never give up. The first step of my US life was to build a new office, which we completed last week. From here, I will be shifting gears to succeed in the new environment with our stone paper material. Right now, that mainly includes sales of our newly developed photo paper (https://www.piworld.com/post/pebble-paper-stand-biggest-competitors/) and the printing of the very first Bible on stone paper. (https://www.piworld.com/post/stone-paper-bible-some-initial-thoughts/). Our crowdfunding business will expand with the help of my first contract worker during the year. Outside of these things, there are a few opportunities that could dramatically change life in the US, but they have not been confirmed yet.
Ultimately, things haven’t changed too much business-wise. I’m still just working hard. The major difference is the future, which suddenly seems promising, but unclear. I can’t say much else about that, other than I will need to take a patient attitude toward life and continue doing the things that have made me successful in other parts of the world.
As a final point, I would like to say China is not at all what our media teaches us. When it comes to conserving a productive, moral society, there is a lot we can learn from them. It’s obvious they will be the most influential country of the next millenia. But I am American, and the stress of living in their excruciatingly competitive society has brought me happily back to my home country, where I know my girlfriend will find a more diverse place where she too can be accepted and flourish.
What happens with the printing and stone paper business … Ask me again in 6 months and let’s see where we are.
Hunter Bliss is currently a strategic account executive for RR Donnelley Asia, based in New York City. Previously, during a four-year residence in China, he acted as the founder and CEO of Pebble Printing Group, a printer specializing in stone paper printing. Hunter is from South Carolina, was educated as a printer in Germany, and founded his company in Shenzhen, China.