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Forum Unlock China

Unlock China: Opportunities and business between Italy and China

Bologna, 5 June at FICO Eataly World. Grant Thornton, with the sponsorship of the Italian China Chamber of Commerce, organized the forum "Unlock China: Opportunities and business between Italy and China" at FICO Eataly World.

During the forum over 100 among entrepreneurs, managers, professionals of Italian and Chinese companies had the opportunity to learn about the most recent initiatives implemented by Italian institutions to facilitate and support investments abroad and in particular in Asia, to attend the presentation of best practices by companies that have been successfully operating in the Chinese market for years, exploring and deepening the possibility of partnerships with specialized investment funds or opening their capitals to Chinese companies, having the chance to interact with Chinese, Italian and international advisors in strategic, auditing, legal, corporate and tax consulting.

With a look to 2020 (the year of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the final year of the 13th Chinese socio-economic development program), Italy and China intend to strengthen their global strategic partnership by deepening concrete collaborations in the priority and mutual sectors interest. The last three years have seen an important deepening of the exchange of visits, even at the highest institutional profile.

"The forum is an important opportunity to share concrete strategies and perspectives of collaboration between the two Countries" – says Sonia Lenzi Partner of GRANT THORNTON FINANCIAL DUE DILIGENCE - "to know risks and opportunities, consolidate relationships and give visibility to important initiatives between Italian and Chinese companies, aimed at fostering bilateral industrial and commercial cooperation".
The speakers included various institutions from Simest to Confindustria, Bank boutique specialized in Chinese investors, representatives of the European Chambers of Commerce in China as well as Chinese, Italian and international experts in strategic, legal, corporate and tax consultancy.
Why participate in a forum on China? While the US seems in the short term to want to close down and represent a saturated market for different production sectors, China is preparing to open its market more to foreign investment. Imposing projects such as the "One Belt One Road" have in fact the goal of making China the reference point for land and sea trade routes. China is the second largest economy in the world, contributing over 30% of the global growth rate over the last 5 years, with an import growth of 15.9%, economic growth of 6.6% in 2018, Industrial development has subsequently triggered the growth of the service sector, so much so that since 2013 the tertiary sector has become the main contributor to the Chinese GDP.
"The economic reforms have led to a market comprising over one billion potential consumers, with a growing spending capacity and with new needs to be met, such as in luxury services and products" - continue Alessandro Grassetto Partner of BERNONI GRANT THORNTON . "To date, the offer is lower than the demand. This represents a great development opportunity for international suppliers of medium-high end goods. Tax incentives and reduced tax rates for business initiatives in China's inland and western regions are envisaged, compared to coastal areas. The subsidized rates are also provided for innovative companies with a strong technological component, which are recognized with a special license that certifies their status as a high tech enterprise".
However, Italy's commercial presence in China continues to be marginal when compared to other European countries such as Germany and France, mainly due to a lack of common planning that facilitates entry into the Chinese market.
The Chinese Government promotes and encourages foreign investments in sectors characterized by high innovation and low environmental and social impact. Among the most stimulated sectors are high technology products and industrial equipment and machinery with a high degree of innovation and renewable energy. Foreign capital will also be made available on sensitive sectors such as finance, telecommunications, medical services, education, health, care for the elderly and vehicles powered by alternative energy sources. For 2025, the aim is to have full parity between Chinese and foreign companies.
"Be careful, however, not to underestimate the difficulties and accidents in the strategy of internationalization" – conclude Lenzi and Grassetto of GRANT THORNTON. "Companies that are expanding outside their country face a series of challenges related to linguistic, social, cultural and regulatory differences and this is all the more so for China. It is necessary to rely on expert consultants who operate locally but have international experience, such as in the case of the Grant Thornton network present in 24 Chinese cities, over 220 partners and 5000 professionals among auditors and advisors in advisory and tax experts in supporting Italian businesses in China and vice versa. In an ancient and complex nation like China, first of all we have to deal with a heterogeneous and fragmented legal system, which changes over time and requires constant updating from the companies that operate there ".

Why FICO Eataly? FICO represents a showcase of Italian agri-food excellence, which is also one of the sectors considered strategic by the Chinese government and is a very attentive reality on the Asian market. In fact, at the end of April it signed an agreement between Fico Eataly World and Totfree of GlobeTech Plus Limited, a platform for Chinese tourism services specialized in the Made in Italy market.
The Emilia Romagna Region in general is very committed to the Chinese market with the Bologna airport certified "Welcome Chinese", becoming the first city in Italy to sign a memorandum of understanding to bring China closer to the capital of Emilia and from the point of view of tourism economic and commercial and that of Rimini that has received the prestigious Quality Service Certification - QSC certification by the most important governmental authorities of China which provides, among other activities to promote the airport to be developed on the Chinese market, to incentivize both the tours operator and individual passengers to select and use the airport of Rimini in planning their trips. Rimini is also the city where Grant Thornton organize the annual forum for years on training, economics, virtuous companies and the third sector with institutional leaders, CEO of companies and protagonists of the third sector and whose success is made possible thanks to the participation and passion of the business community of the 400 people working in the various companies of the Grant Thornton network in Italy