China: Italian business community out front at Suzhou Mayor Consultation
Italy was out front at the “Suzhou Mayor’s Consultation”, an initiative promoted by one of China’s wealthiest and most important cities (the former “silk capital”) and located in Jiangsu, which consists of a series of major encounters between the municipal authorities and business communities for the purpose of identifying the most effective ways to promote the city’s development. For this edition of the event, Consul General of Italy in Shanghai Vincenzo de Luca acted as rapporteur in a meeting with the foreign business communities that participated, along with other diplomats and the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which groups together 400 firms in the area. But Italy made no less of a showing, proportionately-speaking, with approximately 140 firms that have found a favourable investment environment in Jiangsu.
Indeed, Suzhou has become one of the most prominent districts for Italian firms abroad. It is an active district above all thanks to the Suzhou Working Group set up by the Italian business community, which is especially effective in promoting relations with the local authorities through the “Suzhou Appreciation meeting”, an annual meeting with Italian institutions, Italian managers and local Chinese authorities. Mayor Zhou, whose interest in System Italy has been strengthened over recent years thanks to the growing number and size of Italian firms that have made the most of this tool, and repeatedly underscored the close relationship between the Consulate and the local authorities and between the Italian and Chinese business communities. Setting up local Working Groups by Italian managers is a best practice that has been replicated in Nanking and Hangzhou. In his speech, Consul General de Luca placed the accent on a highly important project that has been the fruit of a joint venture by the Italian Hera and Chinese Hi-Firm for the construction of the first industrial waste incinerator. This project is an environmental pilot that could be repeated in other cities in the Jiangsu Province and in other provinces. The Consul General also recalled the success of the “Italy Comes to You” event held in Suzhou on 22 May of this year, a leading event on Italian lifestyle that features fashion, luxury and automobile design, art and wine. Consul de Luca’s speech was quoted several times in the Mayor’s closing address, who placed broad attention on System Italy’s role at Suzhou and the strong spirit of innovation of Italian small and medium sized enterprises in the sectors of mechanics, energy and environmental protection.