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Shanghai – Italy's strategy for attracting investment and taking a new path on Chinese development was the theme of a roadshow at Shanghai's Hyatt Hotel. Representatives of Italian bodies and businesses attended the event held at the Technology Fair, of which AGI is a media partner. Director-general of the promotional body for the Italian System, Vincenzo De Luca, said: "We need to better define our market strategy. Over the last few years we have focused on the economic agenda." He stressed the support plan for Made in Italy's penetration of the Chinese market. There was still potential for development, but "we are much stronger when we move in a coherent and united way". Italy had been the second highest EU country in attracting foreign investment. The China (Shanghai) Technology Fair had been "a good start in defining new areas for collaboration between Italy and China, in environment, health, energy efficiency and smart cities, and for promoting numerous start-up partnerships between the two countries, so that young innovative Italians can also find opportunities for growth on the Chinese market." Emeritus President of the Association of Italian Academics in Eastern China, Roberto Dona, outlined the sectors with opportunities for Italian businesses.

These ranged from e-commerce in rural areas to clean energy vehicles, which the central government is promoting, and green materials for construction, agricultural mechanisation, tourism and high-speed rail lines. Business approaches need also to take the consumer into account: "The new Chinese consumer is technology-oriented, respects the environment and has more time available in which to bone up on and select products," he said. Managing Director and Head of International Business at the Italian export credit agency SACE, Michal Ron, said it was important to "think outside the box" on support for groups operating in China or intending to. These plans were particularly relevant for Italian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): "Our main focus is the SMEs and we are launching a programme with the European Investment Bank, a new fund for developing export by SMEs, which we hope to bring into play as much as possible in a country such as China, in which SACE with the backing of the BEI acts on bonds issued by medium-sized companies.". (AGI)