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Cattleman rides high on a new wave of success
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Like many Shanghai expats, Conrado Beckerman has a story to tell, and even by local standards it's a good one. Surfer, diplomat, knowledge-seeker, businessman - he's done it all, writes Sam Riley.

Uruguayan Conrado Beckerman is a rarity in Shanghai. He is one of just eight of his countrymen to call the city home.

Heralding from the tiny South American country that has almost four times more cattle than people, Beckerman's nationality is not the only unusual aspect about him.

From global surf safaris to the glamorous world of international diplomacy, Beckerman's life has taken a number of fascinating twists and turns.

But in the latest chapter of his globe-trotting life, Beckerman can be found in the early mornings with the food wholesalers and chefs at one of the city's main wet markets. At first the hustle and bustle of a market at dawn seems a strange place to find a man who was once sipping champagne at diplomatic cocktail parties as his country's honorary consul general in Canada.

But he is a regular in his forest-green Wellington boots and neat attire as he checks what he describes as his 'stock market.'

Beckerman imports Uruguayan beef into China and the latest prices and market fluctuations are essential information for his business. The business brings in more than 3,000 tons of meat annually.

Cattle and beef production is the lifeblood of Uruguay. It permeates the national conscience and culture, with the humble barbecue the central culinary and social hub.

Talking to Beckerman about beef is like talking to a wine aficionado about burgundy - he is a connoisseur who relishes the detail and nuances of the humble steak.

Uruguayan beef has gained a worldwide reputation as a premium, clean and green product. The beef has unrestricted access to most markets around the world and the grass-fed cattle are hormone-free making them highly sought after in Europe.

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