China in Italy: Kick Start

Photograph for TIME by Alessandro Tosatto / Contrasto

RUNNING BOARD: Yan, center, heads Qianjiang's operation in Pesaro

On a recent afternoon in this east-coast Italian city, you could hear the first snippets of dialogue from the next act of the global economy's evolving plotline. "Wo jiao Francesco," says a young Italian man, at the start of a Mandarin lesson in an office conference room. With a quick "Bravo," for Francesco, Alessandra Brezzi, a moonlighting professor of Chinese from the nearby University of Urbino, begins drilling her seven students on useful workplace vocabulary (ziliao/raw material; caiwuchu/accounting department) and proper Chinese etiquette (introduce yourself with a business card ready; never open a gift right away). Of course, these lessons are...

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