During the China International Import Expo 2019 in Shanghai, I talked about the Italy and China trade relationship on Caixin one of the leading media in China. Here are my key points for the interview: 1) Although Italy and China manufacturing overlap with a high degree of 60%, more cooperation of the complementary 40% will bring opportunities in trade; 2) Chinese companies should do more greenfield investment in Italy to balance the nature of investment flows, which is skewed too much towards M&A. 3) Focus on cross-cultural exchanges. Language and cultural barrier causes cognitive barriers between Italy and China which then lead to missing business opportunities. More knowledge means lower risks and higher propensity to invest. After all, Italia and Chinese culture are very similar, especially with Southern Italy (Trust me on this!)
The main problem that the world faces today is that the West sees China as a world economic power, which is true if we look at aggregate figures of GDP. However, China, while being an important, key player in the world economy, is comprised of people whose income per capita is very low by European standards. We are analyzing how to include Italian ports as the western terminal of the new Silk Road for international shipments. Our northern ports are right in the middle of Europe, and our southern ports are essential for the development of Mediterranean and African economies.