I remember reading an Economist article sometime last year that talked about the Chinese-owned textiles factories in Milan. Apparently, much of what we see labelled as upper-mid-end Made in Italy goods are produced by Chinese illegal immigrants in factories owned legitimate Chinese immigrants in Italy operating on the outskirts of Milan. But with the opening up of textiles trade quotas by the WTO, it's a good bet that a lot of these factories will shift their manufacture to China, and return garment "pieces" to Milan for "finishing" and sewing on the Made in Italy tag. I'll try to dig that article up in the Economist archives. re:China market for high-end "couture" imported goods....one cannot generalise about China. 90% of China is rural and dirt poor, but the average living standards in the major coastal cities (primarily Beijing, Shanghai and their satellite cities - with a population similar to the US) are similar to South Korea in the late-1980/early-1990s already and gaining ground very rapidly. Indeed, Hong Kong's high-end retail sector is largely propped up by the influx of mainland-Chinese tourists. You cannot shop in Testoni, Moreschi, Zegna, Gucci, Ferragamo, Veneta, LV, Bally, Mulberry, etc, etc, without getting elbowed out of the way by rich mainlanders anxious to get the latest gear. They're like the Japanese of a generation ago. Give the new rich in Shanghai another 3-4 years and they'll be joining their Hong Kong friends as regulars at Fashion Week in Paris. Agree about domestic Chinese designers - there's no one quite up to scratch yet. But look at how long it took the Japanese to produce a Yohji Yamamoto....and the South Koreans, for all their wealth, still don't have any big name designers. In a country of a billion-plus people, with a quarter of those getting richer and richer, and more kids being educated in the best schools in Europe and North America, it's only a matter of time before China comes up with its own Hanae Mori.