Expo Milano 2015  › Business and economy

China is planning to invest heavily in Italy and starts from Expo Milano 2015

by Micaela Cappellini

After Italy, China is the largest investor of Expo Milano 2015. Not one, but three pavilions fly the Chinese flag: the national pavilion, the pavilion of the construction company, Vanke, and the China Corporate United Pavilion.

During the six months of Expo, China is also the country that will bring the greatest number of visiting delegations to Milan: 17, already made official, are from as many provinces; 3 more are from the city of Shanghai. In addition, thousands of Chinese entrepreneurs are expected to attend the exhibit.

The reason for this huge Chinese commitment is the intention of the Beijing Government to invest heavily in Italy, with acquisitions, industrial partnerships and distribution agreements.

Italy is the European country where Beijing has invested the most in 2014, ie the year in which - according to the rating agency Dagong Europe - the Chinese capital sent to the Old Continent reached its record high with $18 billion.

A five-year plan for Italy seems to exist in Beijing: “I expect a significant growth in both foreign investments in China and business operations and partnerships,” said Giuliano Noci, Vice-Chancellor of the Chinese Territorial Pole at the Polytechnic University of Milan.

Food and technology for the food industry will not be China’s only focus. There will be logistics (ports and airports), tourism (Chinese hotel chains are studying how to land in our country), the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, and information technology for industrial automation.

Distribution will be another key area. Italian companies have plenty of products suited to the emerging, Chinese middle class, but do not know how to reach it: they need a business partner.

In this respect, there will be a good opportunity for Milanese entrepreneurs on Tuesday, April 28, when the leaders of the Chinese e-commerce platform iluxday, which belongs to Orient International Holding, one of the largest state-owned logistics company, come to town.

“Expo is a great opportunity to weave a future partnership,” said Shengjun Ji, president of iluxday and vice-president of Orient International Holding. “For over 40 years we have dealt with exports and we have already worked with several Italian companies. Now, however, China’s needs have changed, we need foreign products for our consumers: this is why we are now refocusing our business on import processes.”

“We see a great economic potential in the Italian products that have quality and design, and we want to work with your brands. Not only on the e-commerce platform: after testing the products on the website for four seasons, we want to become complete distributors on the Chinese market,” added Shengjun Ji to Il Sole 24 Ore - Italy24.