Economy of Milan
Milan is one of the EU's and the world's major financial and business centres, with the Milan metropolitan area having a 2004 GDP of € 241.2 billion (US$ 312.3 billion), which means that it has Europe's 4th highest GDP. This means that, if Milan were a country, it would have the world's 28th largest economy, almost the size of that of the economy of Austria. The city, on the other hand, has a GDP of $115 billion, making it the world's 26th richest city by purchasing power. Milan is the world's 11th most expensive city for expatriate employees, and its influence in fashion, commerce, business, banking, design, trade and industry make it an Alpha world city, as well as the world's 42nd most important in the Global Cities Index. Also, the city's hinterland is Italy's largest industrial area, and the FieraMilano fair is considered the largest in Europe. Milan, also, has one of Italy's highest GDP (per capita), about €35,137 (US$ 52,263), which is 161.6% of the EU average GDP per capita.
Milan is also regarded as the true current fashion capital of the world, according to the 2009 Global Language Monitor, and annually competes with other major international centres, such as New York, Paris, Rome, London, Los Angeles and Tokyo. Major fashion houses and labels, such as Versace, Gucci, Armani, Valentino, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Moschino and Missoni are headquartered in the city, which greatly contribute to its economy.
 Economic history
Milan was, in the late 12th century, a wealthy and industrious city, as the production of armours and wool, led the Lombard town to become rich. During the Renaissance, along with Venice, Rome and Florence, in the making of luxury goods, textiles, hats and fabrics, and the city cultivated such as reputation that the English word "millinery", referring to women's hats in the 19th century, came from the word "Milan". Towards the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Milan became a major European industrial centre for the automotive industry, chemicals, textiles, tools, heavy machinery and book and music publishing, with companies such as Alfa Romeo opening up. After the city's World War II bombings and the opening of the Milan (camp) for refugees, the city witnessed an "economic miracle", with new buildings being built (such as the Pirelli Tower), more industries opening up and many immigrants from Southern Italy and China immigrating to the city. The city experienced a strong flow of immigrants, and became a major international and cosmopolitan centre for expatriate employees. A study showed that by the late-1990s, more than 10% of the city's workers were foreigners. In January 2008, according to ISTAT statistics, it was estimated that 181,393 foreign-born immigrants lived in the city, rapresenting 13.9% of the total population.
 Production and sectors
Milan had a strong industrial and economic production after the war, however, it fell slightly in the late 1990s and early 2000s, especially with the tangentopoli political scandal. However, from 2004 onwards, economic growth started to increase again, with an average of 1%, below Lombardy (whose growth rate was 4.6%) and the Italy's 2004 6% average, and a significant reduced production in some industries: footwear (-11.4 %), textiles (-6.1%) and clothing (-5%). The bulk of the plastic (-2%), chemicals (-1.8%) and mechanics (-1.6%) industries show a downward trend. Publishing production decreased by -2.6%, while the wood-processing industry production decreased by -1.2%. In contrast, despite an industrial decrease in production, Milan has had a rapid and strong growth in the tertiary and quaternary sectors, with logistics and transport (+6.8%) and food (+1.7%). Milan also has an important role in book production and publishing. It is the most important city in the nation for publishing.
 Exports, imports and trade
Milan's main trading partners are Switzerland, Russia, Turkey and the European Union (especially Germany and France). In non-European trade, the main trading, exporting and importing partners are China, Hong Kong, the countries of North Africa, Singapore and United Arab Emirates. The city's main export products are electronics, electrical engineering, steel, textile and clothing products and motor vehicles (which, however, has dropped drastically in 2005 by 28,6%). On import side of things, the main partners in Milan South Korea, Thailand, India, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. The imported goods from around 86% of these countries. Also the city imports a significant amount from South American countries and the European Union (Germany, Belgium, Netherlands are the main partners).
The employment rate is around 95-96% (4-5% unemployment) in Milan which is far higher than the national average of 92-93% (7-8% unemployment). This proportion is of employment is lower amongst women (87-88%). The town is in great demand of highly skilled workers, 16-17% of the country, compared to 8-9%.
In 2009, Milan is regarded as the world fashion capital, even beating New York, Paris, Rome and London. Most of the major Italian fashion brands, including Valentino, Gucci, Versace, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana, are currently headquartered in the city. Milan also hosts a fashion week twice a year, just like other international centres such as Paris, London, Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles and Rome.
 Companies in Milan
Milan is home to many of Italy's major corporations, and 1 of the world's 100 largest companies, (Unicredit), is headquartered in the Lombard metropolis. Other major Milan-based corporations and banks include Luxottica, Borsa Italiana, Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM), Banca Intesa, Banca Popolare di Milano, Vodafone Italy, Odeon TV, Fininvest, Lufthansa Italia, Esselunga, Fineco, Versace, Gucci, La Rinascente, Alfa Romeo, Prada, Etro, Pirelli, Compagnia Generale di Elettricità, 10 Corso Como, Eurofly, Valentino, Armani, Missoni, Moschino, Telelombardia, RCS MediaGroup, SEAT Pagine Gialle, Reply S.p.A. and BBPR.
Milan is one of EU's most important tourist destinations; with 1.902 million arrivals in 2007 and 1.914 million in 2008, it places itself 42nd and 52nd respectively, most visited city in the world. According to a particular source, 56% of international visitors to Milan are from Europe, whilst 44% of the city's tourists are Italian, and 56% are from abroad. The most important European Union markets are the United Kingdom (16%), Germany (9%) and France (6%).
According to a study, most of the visitors who come from the USA to the city go on business matters, whilst Chinese and Japanese tourists mainly take up the leisure segment. The city boasts several popular tourist attractions, such as the city's Duomo and Piazza, the Teatro alla Scala, the San Siro Stadium, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the Castello Sforzesco, the Pinacoteca di Brera and the Via Montenapoleone. Most tourists visit sights such as Milan Cathedral, the Castello Sforzesco and the Teatro alla Scala, however, other main sights such as the Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio, the Navigli and the Brera district are less visited and prove to be less popular.
The city also has numerous hotels, including the ultra-luxurious Town House Galleria, which is the world's first seven-star hotel according to Société Générale de Surveillance (five-star superior luxury according to state law, however) and one of The Leading Hotels of the World. The average stay for a tourist in the city is of 3.43 nights, whilst foreigners stay for longer periods of time, 77% of which stay for a 2-5 night average.
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