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The Chinese Dragon

The news here in the living museum has been carrying a lot of items about the flood of imports from China recently. And finally the dear old politicians have been getting a little worried – better late than never.

I happen to live in an area of Milan which is often referred to as ‘China Town’, due to its high percentage of Chinese immigrants. They don’t get on my nerves, but some Italians find their presence unwelcome. This could, in part, be down to the fact that are taking over most of the shops in the area. No sooner does one Italian owner shut up shop, so to speak, than a new Chinese outlet for cheap clothes opens almost immediately in its place. The area is riddled with shops selling cheap jeans, underwear and just about any other clothing item you can name. Not only this but there is a huge number of Chinese supermarkets too. And even Chinese newspapers. However, many of those who buy the cheap clothes are not Chinese. The market stall owners know a good deal when they hear about it and regularly come round here to stock up.

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The strange thing about all this is that Italians (according to the TV news – not the most reliable source here) are getting a little uppity about the Chinese who are making a quick buck, but no mention is made of all those Italian businesses that have been making use of production facilities in China for some time now. Nor is the fact that many businesses are doing better as a result of having low priced products to sell . You sell something, you make money, simple and much better if your profit margin is good and high.

The West was over the moon when China started to abandon its communist ways. Capitalism won again. Only the Chinese are taking everyone at their own capitalist game and beating them. This was not supposed to happen. What was supposed to happen was than western business would move into China, make things at knock down prices and continue to sell them at high western prices. That profit margin thing. But, the Chinese are a bit too clever, and they want their piece of the action, and they are getting it. Much to the disdain of Italian and many other business men, I imagine. Talk about turning the tables.

One suspects that this is why there has been so much anti-Chinese press recently – a few big Italian businesses are starting to feel the fire which is coming from the dragons mouth and burning. We are often reminded by the media that Chinese products are inferior in quality and can be unsafe. It’s a form of anti-marketing, I suppose. It would be rather embarrassing to hit Chinese products with import taxes, as many of the companies making things in China are not Chinese as I said before. This is a bitter pill and nobody is quite sure who is going to swallow it and come up with a solution – if there is one, that is.

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