CHINA DESCUBRE EUROPA

Está claro que China avanza a pasos agigantados en su economía y va quemando las fases de lo que se puede llamar una evolución económica: comenzó vendiendo materias primas, evolucionó hacia producciones intensivas en mano de obra y ahora busca afianzarse en una producción de mayor nivel tecnológico e invertir en otras partes del mundo. Este último paso es fundamental, y China comienza a tener presencia económica en todos los continentes.

Ahora le ha tocado a Europa. El nuevo mundo chino parece haber descubierto el viejo continente:

The battlements are authentically medieval, the food distinctively Tuscan. But wander into the industrial district of Prato and the culture switches abruptly. The language of the cafés isn’t Italian, it’s Chinese. So too for many street signs and newspapers. In the past few years, the city’s Chinese population has surged from just a few hundred to some 10,000. More than 2,000 Chinese-owned enterprises have helped revive Prato’s flagging textile industry. A thousand or so kilometers north, the Swedish town of Alvkarleby awaits a new landmark. Near the main highway, a Chinese entrepreneur is building a €10 million business and tourism center, complete with pagoda and outsize Buddha. The purpose: to provide a meeting point for Swedes planning a foray into China, or a base for Chinese investors looking to launch in Europe. Smart idea. In the past four years, Chinese investments in Sweden have climbed from zero to more than 50. By the end of the year, China could overtake Germany as the country’s largest investor

In the latest twist to globalization, the Chinese are coming to Europe. Last year the European Union replaced the United States as China’s largest trading partner, and business is often ready to overlook political differences as economic ties multiply. “It’s been overwhelming, especially in the last 10 months,” says London banker Ying Fang, who helps raise money for capital-hungry Chinese companies. “When I tried to start a Chinese economic association here 10 years ago, no one even seemed to know where China was. Now everyone wants a slice.”

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