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Italian firms show confidence in China's growth prospects

Xinhua Updated: 2023-03-13
A view of Beijing's CBD area on Aug 19, 2022. [Photo/VCG]

NANJING - For Luca Pozzi, general manager of Manuli Hydraulics (Suzhou) Co Ltd, the Chinese market is the largest in the world and its potential remains enormous, so he has never lost confidence in expanding the Italian firm's presence in China.

"Of course, the environment will be more competitive, but we remain very confident due to the specific projects we have launched here," Pozzi said. China's optimization of its COVID-19 response has been fundamental for the company's business development, he said, as they can ink deals while meeting their partners face-to-face.

Manuli, which mainly produces hydraulic hoses, entered Suzhou City in East China's Jiangsu province in 2005, and has since been on the fast track of development. "Our hose plant in Suzhou is running on a high capacity and we expect the total volumes this year to remain stable compared to last year," Pozzi said.

"We focus on quality and cost efficiency, and the dedicated R&D branch in Suzhou continues to support innovative solutions for our Chinese and Asian clients," he said, noting that they are considering investing in the energy field to become more sustainable.

Suzhou, which was called the "Venice of the East" by Marco Polo, has deepened its relationship with Italy. Home to about 150 Italian companies, it has become a city with one of the largest concentrations of Italian investment overseas.

"Suzhou has an ideal environment to run operations since there is a big manufacturing industry, with an established offer of suppliers and services," Pozzi said. "The administration is well prepared and can support you when it comes to technical and environmental projects."

"A good business environment and highly efficient government are among the favorable factors for choosing China to develop our business," said Flavio Zaghini, CEO Asia of Piovan Group, a leading automation system production company.

Italy-based Piovan has been in the Chinese market for over 20 years. In 2021, it added to its footprint in the country by signing an agreement to build a new factory in Suzhou, which will be completed by 2024 and become the headquarters for all of the group's branches in the Asia region.

"We are confident that our investment in China will be one of the key factors for our growth in the next years," Zaghini said.

Paolo Ottaviani, general manager of Viani Trade Consulting Co Ltd, has also cast his vote of confidence in the Chinese economy.

The Italian established the firm in Jiangsu's Yancheng City in 2018, aiming to provide consulting services for foreign investors. He takes the initiative to introduce China's business environment and policies to potential investors in Italy.

"I hope to be a bridge between China and Italy and promote a win-win situation through cooperation," Ottaviani said. He said he believes that China will continue to promote high-standard opening-up and that there is great potential for investment.

China will intensify efforts to attract and utilize foreign investment, according to a government work report unveiled on March 5 at the first session of the 14th National People's Congress, the national legislature.

The country will expand market access, continue to open up the modern services sector, ensure foreign-funded companies receive the same treatment as domestic firms, improve services for foreign-funded companies, and facilitate the launch of landmark foreign-funded projects, the report said.

And more foreign companies are eyeing opportunities in China, hoping to gain growth drivers in the world's second-largest economy amid global uncertainties.

Foreign direct investment into the Chinese mainland, in actual use, expanded 14.5 percent year-on-year to 127.69 billion yuan in January this year, according to the Ministry of Commerce. In US dollar terms, the FDI inflow increased 10 percent year-on-year to total $19.02 billion.

"Despite the pandemic and international troubles, our business worldwide has been very good in recent years," Zaghini said. "And we are confidently preparing to face future challenges."