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People's Daily Online>>China Business

'Chinese backyard' of Italy about to go bust (4)

By Xu Tianran (Global Times)

10:46, November 23, 2011

Gloomy future

To avoid paying fines of millions of euros to local authorities, many Chinese business owners have fled back to China.

However, it is not always easy to leave Prato. The second generation of Chinese immigrant speaks better Italian than Chinese, and their children cannot read and write Chinese at all, according to Chen, who is also the head of the biggest Chinese school in Prato.

His school has about 1,000 pupils, most of whom were born in Prato or brought to Italy from China when they were small. "They are more Italian than Chinese," he told the Global Times.

"I will go nowhere, I came to Prato because there were plenty of Chinese here and the development prospects were bigger than elsewhere. I spent my entire youth here. I've got friends and connections here," Zheng said.

Nevertheless, the Chinese population in Prato is declining. "It is difficult to estimate the number. Some just left without saying anything because they do not want to lose face," Chen said.
"The Chinese business here is very difficult to upgrade. You cannot compete with foreign luxury brands, what we do here is cheap and low-end clothing," he said. "If the debt crisis can be solved in the future, Chinese businesses in Prato might stand a chance to survive, otherwise the future is very gloomy."

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