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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs