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People's Daily Online>>China Business

'Chinese backyard' of Italy about to go bust

By Xu Tianran (Global Times)

10:35, November 23, 2011

A few people work in a Chinese-owned garment design and trading company in Prato, Italy. With the escalating debt crisis, many garment businesses in Prato are forced to shut down. Photo: Xu Tianran/GT

As the European debt crisis continues to escalate, the future is bleak for more than 3,000 business owners and tens of thousands of workers in the Italian city of Prato. The town has become known as a low-end garment-manufacturing base operated mostly by Chinese immigrants.

Deserted district

"At least 20 percent of the Chinese who took my taxi told me that they were going home for good. I will certainly go back sooner or later. There is no money to earn," Wu, a local "black taxi" driver from Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, told the Global Times.

Wu has lived in Prato for eight years and worked in a garment factory until last year when his factory went bankrupt. "It is also hard to blend in here," said Wu, who still has trouble using his Western GPS.

The textile industry area of Prato seemed lonely and deserted on a late Wednesday afternoon. In a large garment design and trading company located in the suburbs, all kinds of garments hung ready to be shipped, but few distributors came to place an order.

"This year's sales have sharply declined. Many small companies have closed and business owners went back to China. The big ones are struggling to survive the crisis," the manager told the Global Times.

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