dicembre 19th, 2015
Feature: Chinese, Italian companies meet in Milan to establish ties in post-Expo era
English.news.cn 2015-12-19 22:00:48
by Marzia De Giuli, Song Jian
MILAN, Italy, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) — Several important Chinese companies and banks have established offices and branches in developed Lombardy region and on Friday they gathered in capital Milan to establish ties with their Italian counterparts.
“Today we have wanted to create an institutional platform to make Italian and Chinese companies that are present in Italy meet each other,” Fabrizio Sala, Vice President of Lombardy region, considered the wealthiest region of Italy and one of the most developed areas in Europe, said in an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of the event.
“This is what creates wealth inside companies and in our economy. The Chinese presence is important in Lombardy and in Italy,” Sala highlighted. “Our goal for 2016 is to establish mixed funds, both public and private, to invest in those local and foreign companies that create innovation on our territory and need investments,” he said.
Sala told Xinhua that China is “already a part” of Lombardy’s economic community. “China has provided a sense of security to us,” he said highlighting the recent entry of the Chinese currency renminbi (RMB) into the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reserve currency basket and China’s efforts to boost domestic demand, a “great opportunity for the made in Italy.”
He noted that Italy ranks third among the European destinations of Chinese investors after the UK and France. “We must be able to seize this opportunity for bilateral growth,” he pointed out.
The Italian and Chinese authorities at the event underlined that the world exposition which came to an end last October in Milan has laid solid foundations for Italian companies to collaborate with Chinese counterparts in a fruitful post-Expo era.
“China’s pavilion was the second largest foreign one next to Germany’s at Expo Milano 2015, but in fact China was the largest participant country with a total of three pavilions (one national and two corporate), an overall space of more than 6,700 square meters and an investment of over 100 million euros (more than 108 million U.S. dollars),” Zhang Gang, head of CCPIT (China Council for the Promotion of International Trade) Representative Office in Italy, said in his address to an audience of institutional and business representatives.
During the six-month exposition, the China Pavilion was visited by over three million people and by more than 1,000 companies from some 20 Chinese provinces that built BtoB ties with over 500 Italian companies, Zhang noted. He also added that the trade volume between China and Italy has increased by as much as 34 percent this year.
Zhang, who is also Secretary-General of the Association of Chinese Enterprises in Italy, explained that the association counts 36 big Chinese companies at present, including global leaders in the respective sectors such as Bank of China, ICBC, COSCO, Huawei, ZTE, China UnionPay and many others.
These companies, he noted, count more than 6,000 employees in Italy, of which some 80 percent are Italian, and have invested a total of more than 3.5 billion euros (over 3.8 billion U.S. dollars) in the country. There are around 300,000 Chinese nationals presently living in Italy, who run a total of some 66,000 private businesses, of which about 14,000 in Lombardy.
“This is an excellent time as regards the relations between China and Italy,” said Wang Yaliang, Vice President of the Association of Chinese Enterprises in Italy and Deputy General Manager of Genertec Italia, in an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of the event.
“Last week we held our annual meeting here in Milan and outlined the working plan for 2016. Among our main objectives there is organizing in the short term more occasions of dialogue and exchange with the local companies to explore investment and trade opportunities,” Wang said.
The internationalization of Chinese companies and the “Belt and Road” initiative launched in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping to support logistics networks throughout Asia, Europe, Middle East and Africa would provide many new opportunities of collaboration between Chinese and Italian companies, he also underlined.
In fact though Lombardy region was not part of the ancient Silk Road, the Italian northern region has been recently making many concrete steps especially in the sector of road and rail infrastructures “with the goal to become a protagonist of the New Silk Road,” said Max Ferrari, President of the Lombardy-China Association.
“Lombardy is not surrounded by sea thus has not ports, but is close to strategic intersections in northern Italy and Europe. Lombardy and China are complementary, and today’s meeting was an evidence of that,” Ferrari stressed.