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China-Italy Business Survey: 70% of Respondents Foresees A Positive Trend


On Feb. 8th, the China-Italy Chamber of Commerce (CICC) has released the results of the III Edition of the CICC Business Survey during the webinar “Presentation of the results of the III edition of CICC Business Survey” held both online on the Zoom platform and offline at CICC offices (Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Shanghai). The event saw the participation of more than 100 representatives of the Sino-Italian business community. 

Considering the difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic globally, the aim of the publication is to acknowledge the challenges and opportunities faced by the Sino-Italian business representatives and investigating the sentiment of the community about doing business in China.

Despite the challenges, in terms of the 2021 revenue forecast, the attitude of respondents is very optimistic. The vast majority (70%) of respondents foresees a positive trend in the overall business scenario in the next 5 years while 18% stays neutral. This includes industries that rank top 5: services to consumers, machinery, trading, automotive, and other manufacturing companies.

In terms of the future potential of the Chinese market, most of the companies said “yes” to planning further investments in the next 5-year plan (2021 – 2025) and 48% of respondents gave feedbacks on already planned and ongoing further investment projects.

Developed by the CICC in collaboration with the International Business School Suzhou at Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University (IBSS, XJTLU), the survey is structured in five sections: company overview, strategic choices, financial performance, business environment, and outlook. The analysis is based on both CICC Members’ and Friends’ participation, as for the first time the 2020 edition respondents include both Italian companies and Chinese ones.

H.E. the Ambassador of Italy to the P.R.C, Luca Ferrari, presented opening remarks. Following this, the CICC Chairman Paolo Bazzoni presented the first part of the results.

Luca Ferrari, H.E. the Ambassador of Italy to the P.R.C

The outcome of the publication is based on the feedbacks of 304 Members and Friends of CICC. The respondents well represent the Italian economic organization with the 88% that identified themselves as small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs), while the 12% as big players. More than 60% had in China its global footprint for more than 10 years, while 23% between 4 and 10 years, and only 17% less than 3 years. When it comes to industry segments, China is still the manufacturing hub for Italian companies. Automotive, machinery, and other manufacturing segments account for 10%, 11%, and 19% respectively, while it is also true that the Italian companies are equally divided between services and industrial products with services to business accounting for 32%.

Paolo Bazzoni, chairman of the CICC

The second part was presented by Professor Roberto Donà, who introduced the survey’s results. The main factors representing the reasons for respondents to operate in China are market access, robust economic growth, high demand for products and services from customers, while others like local incentives and the possibility to attract local talents are on a downward trend.

Prof.Roberto Donà

Besides the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sino-Italian community is facing severe competition from Chinese companies and non-Italian and non-Chinese companies as well as increasing labor costs. In the last 3 years, 83% of the respondents experienced an increase in labor cost with 16% having an increase of more than 10%, 29% between 6%-10%, and 25% of them between 4-5%.

2020 was a very challenging year in the terms of revenue forecast compared with 2019, around 80% of respondents forecasted a stable outlook for revenue in Mainland China and a decrease of 20% for Greater China.

panel discussion

Companies showed satisfaction with the efforts made by the Chinese government to ease the business environment in China especially in the reform of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) and the simplification of bureaucratic procedures, and the survey also indicates that companies believe that the Made-in-China 2025 and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will help them increase revenues in China.




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