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my shanghai:
Talking To: Silvio Rosenberger

With five years of experience in China, the Renaissance Shanghai Pudong Hotel’s General Manager Silvio Rosenberger truly feels that the city is now his home. For Rosenberger, who grew up in a little village near Leipzig in the former East Germany, getting to this point has been a long and interesting journey.

“In East Germany there were not so many employment opportunities. The hospitality industry was one of the most popular sectors so it was not only hard to get a job, but even an internship,” he says. “But my parents guided me toward this because they wanted me to have a good education and an opportunity came up to attend a hospitality boarding school, which was very rare for the time.”

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Rosenberger quickly moved to Frankfurt to start waiting tables. Within a year he had transitioned to working reception at a hotel, and then again to a night auditor position due to his gift for numbers. Unfortunately, soon after, a serious car accident left him with facial injuries. He says with a laugh, “it wasn’t pretty.” Thus, his boss moved him once again to cost control in the hotel’s basement, out of the sight of any guests, until he had healed. After six months he was back at the front desk, but his maths skill once again saw him move to accounting where he would stay for the next several years.

A trip to Thailand was where he initially caught the Asia bug. He was blown away by both the country and its tourism industry. “Hospitality is in their blood,” he says. “Genuine smiles greet you everywhere – it truly is the land of a thousand smiles.” Back in Germany he let it be known he wanted to move east and in 2001 he jumped at the chance to work at Saigon’s New World Hotel.

He describes arriving in Vietnam as a personal discovery. As a young child, while the Vietnam War raged in Southeast Asia, his school helped collect Deutschmarks from students to send in support of the North Vietnamese, in exchange for a stamp to put in a collectors book. Arriving in Saigon, he remembers thinking, ‘This is the real Asia’.


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