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Table 1 Basic information on cases

From: Can overseas migrants develop sustained entrepreneurship? Multiple case studies of Wenzhou migrants in Italy

Case number Industry Case description
Entrepreneur H Furniture In 2001 H followed a cousin to Italy. Two years later, H helped his younger brother and sister apply to Italy. H first worked for her mother’s cousin; the family then got together to make sofas. In 2005 H went to Prato to help in his younger brother’s timber frame factory, run by a partnership of the three siblings. The younger brother and sister were in charge of making sofas. H knew some Italian and went out to produce contracts for business. In June 2006, in partnership with his sister, H. invested more than 800 thousand Euro into a start-up sofa factory in Montermurlo, a town under the jurisdiction of Prato. The three siblings separated in 2010; H now owns the sofa factory independently. Today H has more than 20 workers and is the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for two of the largest sofa companies in Prato.
Entrepreneur ZR Garment Before ZR came to Italy, she was a substitute teacher and police clerk. In the first two years ZR worked at a restaurant in Milan, earning 2,000 ITL a month, equivalent to 66 USD. In addition to working at the restaurant ZR also made purses and supplied bean sprouts to all Chinese restaurants in Milan. ZR learned some basic Italian when working in the restaurant. In early 1989, ZR opened a restaurant in Follmeo using her savings, and then gave birth to three children. ZR brought her mother and siblings from China to Italy and was in debt. In 1993 ZR came to Prato to start an OEM for clothes, learning garment production and company management from scratch. Six months later ZR repaid all of her debt, and within a year her entire life conditions had changed. In 2008 ZR began operating her own clothing company, expanding from one worker to over 30. The company now has four Italian employees, and the average monthly income amounts to 1 million EUR. In addition to clothing, ZR also owns a restaurant. ZR currently devotes herself to the clothing business and handed over care of the restaurant to a friend.
Entrepreneur X Footwear X had no work experience before immigrating to Italy. X went to Shanghai for two years to study French and English. At the end of 2000 X went to study in Switzerland. In 2002 X entered France illegally and made clothes for Wenzhou businessmen in a basement. In 2004 she met her boyfriend in the factory and married. Soon after, she took refuge with her husband’s relatives in Italy and received more than 10,000 EUR as a wedding gift. X spent 30,000 EUR to buy an import export and wholesale business in a mall in Naples. In 2009 X obtained the right to reside in Italy through amnesty; she now imports over 10 containers per year. Her customers come mainly from Italy and other countries in Europe. X is ready for expansion and plans to soon buy another store in Naples’ Chinatown.
Entrepreneur ZY Luggage and bags ZY’s father migrated to Italy in the early 1980s. In 1988 ZY, together with his brother and mother, came to Italy. After graduating from middle school, ZY first worked in Florence in a luggage factory. After accumulating some work experience, ZY and his brother went to Venice and worked in the wholesale bag industry. In 1994 they returned to Florence to join a joint venture in Italian leather goods with friends. They established direct contact with brand companies as the OEM of high-end brands. In 1997 they became the OEM for Chanel. In 2006 ZY began work as an agent for middle-range wines. By 2009 ZY, along with friends, had become the top Italian wine distributor in China. ZY established a Shanghai wine company in 2010. In 2005 ZY was elected as a foreign congressman of Florence.