News / Europe

    Struggling Italian Business Owners Seek Chinese Investors

    Struggling Italian Business Owners Seek Chinese Investorsi
    X
    October 30, 2013 12:55 PM
    The economic crisis in Italy has left many small businesses in dire straits. Unable to get credit and with little hope of an economic recovery, increasing numbers of entrepreneurs are looking to sell their businesses to Chinese investors. Rebecca Valli reports from Northern Italy.
    Struggling Italian Business Owners Seek Chinese Investors
    The economic crisis in Italy has left many small businesses in dire straits. Unable to get credit and with little hope of an economic recovery, increasing numbers of entrepreneurs are looking to sell their businesses to Chinese investors.
     
    Laura Zanardi and Monica Borlini opened a bar-café thirteen years ago in the northern wine region of Franciacorta.
     
    “It was just an empty rectangular warehouse. We redid it, building a mezzanine and creating more intimate areas. It was a ton of work, demanding both economically and in terms of hours of work. But it also gave us a lot of satisfaction. It's our baby,” recalled Zanardi.
     
    Now, the two partners are ready to sell.
     
    They say that the economic crisis has taken a toll on the customers and on the bar's profits.
     
    “It is much more difficult now, more demanding. It used to be easy, money moved around. Now they are all very careful, you have to stay up until morning and try to give them good fun, a night not to think about their economic problems,” said Borlini.
     
    They are trying to sell their business through a website called “vendereaicinesi.it” - literally “sell to the Chinese.”
     
    Simone Toppino is the co-founder of the website that helps translate and distribute ads targeting Chinese buyers.
     
    “We started this year in mid-February. At the beginning it was just a translator and a web-developer. It was a success right away, and now we have eleven employees, with four translators. There are lots of ads and lots of work for us,” said Toppino.
     
    Since Europe’s economic crisis began, pinching business throughout the region, there has been a steady increase in the number of Chinese opening up shop in Italy. A recent study estimates the number of Chinese-backed businesses in Italy has risen by 34 percent in recent years.
     
    Angelo Ou, the representative of the Chinese business community in Milan, says Chinese investment in Italy is changing.
     
    “There is a change towards the service industry. In the past most businesses were in small manufacturing, so for example in ready to wear, fast fashion manufacturing. But now there is more in the servicing sector. At first the response locally was - and to some extent still is - of rejection. ‘These Chinese buy everything, even the town's bar that has been in the hands of an Italian family for three generations. What do Chinese people know about how to operate a café?’” said Ou.
     
    With time, Ou thinks, having more Chinese working in Italy’s service sector will help with integration.
     
    Zanardi and Borlini’s café is listed for sale for $1.4 million. The Chinese entrepreneurs who have come to see the space so far say it's too big of an investment for them. Nonetheless, the owners remain optimistic that the right buyer will come along eventually.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    October 30, 2013 7:55 PM
    Yes, wealthy Chinese people look buying everything around the world. They are buying uninhabited wildernesse lands in Japan.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora