Chinese Clothes Made in Italy
Decades ago the label “Made in China” meant cheap products and bad quality. Today more and more Chinese are moving businesses out of their own country and setting them up abroad .
Prato is town just north of Florence. With a population of more than 180,000 Prato is the second largest city in Tuscany ,after Florence. Prato has a long history of making clothes and textiles. It even has a textile museum that shows the town’s past.
Since the 1980s thousands of Chinese have come to Prato, making it the biggest Chinese community for such a small town. Today, about a fifth of the town’s population is Chinese. There are 5,000 Chinese businesses in Prato, most of them in the textile industry. All of them produce clothes that are Made in Italy . About 1 million pieces of clothes are made every day, worth almost 2 billion Euros a year.
The Chinese factories export the clothes to many countries around the world. But more and more Italians are also turning their backs on Armani and Prada and buying Chinese clothes.
Chinese garments are much cheaper than Italian clothes and the quality is good too. Chinese businesspeople have made local Italian company owners very angry. Thousands of Italians have lost their jobs and half of the companies have shut down since 2001. The Chinese import their own textiles at a much lower price and Chinese workers are cheaper too. There is also evidence that there are thousands of illegal Chinese who work in Prato. The police have successfully raided secret apartments and houses that were home to illegal Chinese.
The people of Prato say the Chinese have brought along other problems as well. There is more crime, prostitution and drug trade in the town. The new owners are not spending their profits in the local area but sending their earnings back to China. In 2009, Prato elected a new conservative mayor who wants the European Union to do something against Chinese immigration .
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- abroad = in another country
- billion = a thousand million
- business = company
- community = group of people
- drug trade = drugs that are bought and sold
- elect = to vote for someone
- evidence = proof , facts that show that something is true
- garment = piece of clothing
- illegal = against the law
- immigration = people who come to a country to live and work there
- label = brand, tag
- local = out of the area
- mayor = a person who is the leader of a town or city
- owner = a person whom something belongs to
- profit = the money that your company earns
- raid = to make a surprise visit in order to search for something illegal
- secret = not known by many people
- shut down = close
- turn your back on = here: not to buy any more
- Tuscany = area in north central Italy famous for its wine and beautiful old cities like Siena, Pisa and Florence