China conquering beyond its shores

I just read an interesting New York Times article “Newcomers Redefine A Label” about how the Chinese immigrated to Prato, Italy and started producing low-end garments (clothes, shoes, accessories). They would import materials from China, hire Chinese workers illegally, and repatriate profits back to China.

Essentially, it is almost as if China rented a space in Italy and began to export from there. Economically, it is an export if you consider that materials are from China, the employees are Chinese, and profits go back to China.

Is this the same as a foreign investor setting up shop in a country? e.g. Toyota setting up factories in the U.S.?


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