by Guy Dinmore, published December 1 2010
Chinese companies are taking advantage of hard times in Europe by moving into Italy’s superyacht sector, buying well known brands that have fallen into bankruptcy. Read more…
By Guy Dinmore and Giulia Segreti in Rome, Published: October 7 2010
Italy’s decision to illuminate Rome’s Colosseum in communist red for the visit of the Chinese premier sent the strongest possible signal as to the importance it placed on the trip.
The unusual move in honour of Wen Jiabao’s first visit in more than five years comes as Italy prepares – somewhat nervously – for a surge in large-scale investment in infrastructure and high-tech joint ventures, hoping in exchange to win equal treatment for Italian companies in China.
by Guy Dinmore, published July 1, 2010
In a rare public broadside on Beijing, Jeffrey Immelt, General Electric’s chief executive, accused the Chinese government of being increasingly hostile to foreign multinationals.
“I really worry about China,” Immelt told an audience of dozens of top Italian executives. “I am not sure that in the end they want any of us to win, or any of us to be successful.”
Immelt acknowledged the importance of the Chinese market, which contributed $5.3bn to the group’s revenues last year, but declared that GE was encountering its toughest business conditions there in 25 years.
“China and India remain important for GE but I am thinking about what is next,” he said, mentioning what he called “most interesting resource-rich countries” in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America plus Indonesia.
“They don’t all want to be colonised by the Chinese. They want to develop themselves,” he said.
Immelt also turned his criticism on Barack Obama, US president, lamenting what he called a “terrible” national mood. Business did not like the US president, and the president did not like business, he said, making a point of praising Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, for her defence of German industry.
“People are in a really bad mood [in the US],” the 54-year-old executive told an audience of somewhat surprised Europeans who had seen higher levels of US growth as a beacon of recovery.
By Geoff Dyer and Guy Dinmore published July 1 2010
There have been plenty of signs in recent months that the corporate world is falling out of love with China, but none more revealing than Jeff Immelt’s remarks on a Roman summer evening. The General Electric chief executive told Italian industrialists at a dinner on Wednesday that he was worried about the way Beijing was treating foreign companies.
“I am not sure that in the end they want any of us to win or any of us to be successful,” said the man who runs the largest manufacturing company. The comments are one of the first public declarations of what many foreign executives have been saying in private over the past six months: that they are being gradually squeezed out of the Chinese market as local companies increasingly get the nod. Read more…
by Guy Dinmore in Rome Published: June 28 2010
Italian police launched a major operation against Chinese criminal gangs across the country early on Monday, raiding illegal factories and seizing assets.
Italy’s Guardia di Finanza tax police said its Florence division had launched what it called Operation Great China in eight regions across Italy. Police said 17 Chinese and seven Italians were arrested while 134 others were under investigation. Police also seized 73 companies, 181 properties and 166 luxury cars.
Charges levelled against the Chinese included mafia association, money laundering and tax evasion, and organising illegal immigration, labour and prostitution. Some were also charged with counterfeiting, commercial fraud and the selling of goods against “Made in Italy” labelling regulations. Read more…
By Guy Dinmore in Prato, Italy
When the Italian police, firefighters and assorted inspectors banged on the factory door, launching their latest raid on illegal Chinese sweatshops in Prato, most of the stunned workers living there in damp, windowless cubicles were still in pyjamas.
Within hours, four more clothing factories in Lazzeretto street had been sealed and ranks of sewing machines confiscated, two illegal immigrants were hauled off and the remaining few dozen workers told to get out.
After years of tolerating and also benefiting from waves of Chinese immigrants who have built the largest concentration of Chinese-run industry in Europe, the people of this ancient Tuscan city have decided enough is enough.
by Guy Dinmore
published on FT 19 November 2009
The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, on Wednesday expressed his appreciation of support given by Barack Obama, the US president who is visiting China, while members of the exiled government said they were hopeful that stalled talks with Beijing would resume soon.
Speaking in Rome, where he attended an international parliamentary conference on Tibet, the Dalai Lama said the Obama administration had been “very supportive”, as had the previous Bush and Clinton administrations. He noted the appointment by the White House of a special Tibet coordinator.
In Beijing on Tuesday, Mr Obama called for the “early resumption of dialogue” between the Chinese government and representatives of the Dalai Lama.
A White House official, briefing reporters, said Mr Obama discussed Tibet with Hu Jintao, China’s president, “making clear his respect for the Dalai Lama as a cultural and religious leader, and his intention to meet with the Dalai Lama at an appropriate time”. Read more…