Chinese Company Donates Tens of Thousands of Masks to Coronavirus-Striken Italy, Says 'We Are Waves of The Same Sea'

The Chinese consumer electronics company Xiaomi donated tens of thousands of FFP3 face masks to Italy's government to help stop the spread of the coronavirus and to curb a shortage in the country's health materials.

The official Xiaomi Italia Facebook page announced Thursday it was sending the first of multiple shipments of anti-coronavirus face masks to Italy's Civil Protection Department this week. The Beijing-based company produces everything from smartphones to laptops and earphones, and offered the FFP3 masks as a token of gratitude for letting the electronics company settle in and feel "deeply integrated" after arriving in the European country two years before. Pictures of Xiaomi's face mask crate shipments featured a quote from the ancient Roman philosopher Seneca.

"We are waves of the same sea, leaves of the same tree, flowers of the same garden," Xiaomi wrote on crates containing the Italian-bound face masks.

Italy's death toll rose to 366 people Sunday amid more than 7,300 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 illness. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed a decree last week for a quarantine affecting 15 provinces and more than one-quarter of the country's 60 million people.

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"The continuous growth and rapid expansion of Xiaomi in Italy are closely linked to our users, fans and the general public; this gesture therefore does not represent only a way to thank and to give our support, but it is the tangible demonstration that we feel an integral part of this country. And it is precisely this sense of belonging, combined with deep solidarity, that imposes a high sense of responsibility on all citizens as a global company," said Chew Shou Zi, CFO and President of International Xiaomi Corporation, in a statement provided to Mashable Italia over the weekend.

"We were immediately welcomed with great enthusiasm and it is a source of great pride to be able to offer our contribution today in favor of the Department of Civil Protection which is carrying out, with commitment and determination, an excellent job for the benefit of the whole community," the Xiaomi chief financial officer added to the Italian tech publication.

Italy has been the hardest country hit by the coronavirus spread outside of Asia, with the COVID-19 illness having first come under international scrutiny in Wuhan, China. As Mashable Italia notes, Xiaomi's move is not the first token of solidarity between the two countries. Foreign-born residents of Wenzhou City and the community of Prato have set up fundraising campaigns for those potentially inflicted with the coronavirus.

xiaomi china italy face masks
Chinese electronics company Xiaomi sent tens of thousands of anti-coronavirus face masks to Italy as a token of gratitude and to curb a shortage of health materials.