Flashback: China is Flexing its Economic Muscles by Buying Up Italian Companies

The Wuhan virus has been a black eye for the Chinese Communist Party, now that the entire world is suffering from this pandemic caused by the Chinese government’s incompetence.

One of the pandemic’s hot spots, Northern Italy, has received international attention for its notable Chinese economic presence in factories throughout the region. This has raised speculation about how the virus has spread so quickly in the southern European country.

6 years ago in an article by Annalisa Merelli at Quartz, readers were reminded about China’s steadily growing influence in the Italian peninsula.

Historically, Italy has taken enormous pride over its domestic production. However Merelli notes that “cheap imports from China are often demonized as inferior knock-offs—some 90% of fake ”Made in Italy” merchandise allegedly comes from China, and even staples like tomato sauce and olive oil are not immune.” Unemployment, which has recently been high in Italy, has also been threatened by increased economic interactions with China.

Merelli also highlighted how certain sectors of the Italian economy are encouraging more Chinese investment:

To encourage Chinese investment in Italian companies, publisher ClassEditori set up an online portal—vendereaicinesi.it, which means “sell to the Chinese”—that features all sorts of classified ads directed at Chinese investors. Advertisers list everything from real estate to consumer products to entire companies.

At the time this article was written, around 200 Italian business are under the control of Chinese owners according to La Repubblica. Similarly, China’s central bank holds stakes in several of Italy’s prominent companies such as Fiat, Telecom Italia, Generali, and Eni.

Thanks to the new wave of nationalization and the skepticism towards globalism, people are beginning to question the China economic partnership narrative.

Hopefully, policymakers start implementing measures that socially distance Western countries from China.