(Fighting against New Coronary Pneumonia) Prato, Italy, "Zero Infection" Chinese Community Resumes Production

  China News Agency, Beijing, June 18: Question: "No infection" in Prato, Italy

  Author Wu Kan

  During the epidemic, the Chinese community in Prato, Italy has maintained a "zero infection" record, but the epidemic caused the local Chinese economy to shut down, and the restart process was even more difficult. Recently, a reporter from China News Service interviewed local overseas Chinese leaders and Chinese businessmen to learn about the resumption of production and production of Chinese enterprises.

  "The Chinese businessmen in Prato were the first to suspend work, and also the latest to resume work. The Chinese economy can be said to be badly hurt." Xu Qiulin, president of the Chinese Overseas Chinese Association of Prato, said that the Chinese have a strong sense of precautions. Before closing the business, the Italian businessmen waited for a while before resuming work, and the business was really hit by a lot.

  According to Xu Qiulin, there are about 50,000 overseas Chinese in Prato, most of them from Wenzhou, Zhejiang. Most of them are engaged in the apparel and textile industry, distributed in the two "fast fashion" apparel industrial areas of MACROLOTTOUNO and MACROLOTTODUE; there are also a small number of Chinese who are engaged in catering, tourism and other industries on the "Chinese Street".

  "There are more than 5,000 Chinese apparel companies in Prato, and it has been in a'half-recovery' state for more than a month." Li Xiaofeng, president of the Italian Chinese Apparel Industry Association, said that the main reason for the company's production and operation has not been completely restored. It is "labor shortage".

  Li Xiaofeng said that many workers did not return after the Chinese New Year, and some overseas Chinese who stayed in Prato were still afraid of the epidemic and did not want to venture out to work. "This has resulted in an extreme shortage of manpower in our factory, and no one has produced the order."

  "The market situation is not good, the order volume has decreased too much compared with before the epidemic, and some companies even have no single order to pick up." Li Xiaofeng said that February was the peak season for receiving summer orders, because the epidemic was completely missed; The business of a large-scale "fast fashion" apparel brand has been hit, and orders from Chinese companies with which it has cooperated have been greatly reduced.

  Some Chinese companies have tight cash flows and cannot even pay rent. "Some landlord accommodations allow delays in rent payment, and some landlords have failed to collect payment. They brought Chinese businessmen to court in accordance with local laws. The lawsuit made the already difficult Chinese businessmen face even worse conditions. Some people had to choose to give up their business and leave Prato." Li Xiaofeng said.

  Although the Italian government has introduced a series of economic bailout measures, according to Li Xiaofeng, there is a threshold for applying for subsidies or loans. That is, last year's turnover has to meet the standard. In fact, many Chinese companies with difficulties cannot meet this standard at all.

  Ren Binwei, an overseas Chinese who runs a clothing company in Prato, focuses on design and production. The company's orders have been reduced by 50% compared with the same period last year. "What makes me more headache is how to deal with the upcoming autumn and winter production season in the face of insufficient manpower?"

  How do Chinese apparel companies seek to break through? "On the one hand, it is to develop online business. In the past, customers used to come to the factory to place orders, but now they are all online." Li Xiaofeng said that some companies communicate with customers through social software and order products online; some companies have made APPs , The product details are clearly displayed above, and customers can place orders directly.

  In Li Xiaofeng's view, apparel companies can't just stay in the OEM mode, the development of original design is critical, and the entire industry chain must be in their own hands. "Now most of the companies here are designing, producing, and selling by themselves. For example, my company has Chinese designers and Italian designers. The combination of Chinese and Western clothing has a market."

  During the epidemic, nearly 100 Chinese apparel companies quickly switched to production, producing masks and protective clothing. Li Xiaofeng told reporters that the daily output of the masks of the larger Chinese factory can reach 100,000. They also donated part of the masks and protective clothing to the government for free. The action of the Chinese merchants to convert the masks was also praised by the Mayor of Prato.

  "Although the epidemic has cost us a lot, it has also prompted us to take the initiative to find more new customers." Ren Binwei said that he is still full of confidence in the future and believes that after the test of the epidemic, Chinese companies will have stronger survival strength. (Finish)