The CICC Members' Meeting: Anhui, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Zhejiang took place in our Shanghai office on October 19th 2021. About 50 Members attended the meeting, which was an occasion to assess CICC recent activities and discuss some new projects.
The event was opened by welcome remarks by Mr Valtero Canepa, CICC Vice-Chairman in Shanghai, giving an overview of the mission, governance and strategic priorities of the CICC.
Mr Valtero Canepa invited Ms Alessandra Palumbo, Commercial Consul of the Consulate General of Italy in Shanghai, who gave a warm welcome to all those present at the meeting and underlined the importance of the close cooperation between the different components of the “Italian System in Shanghai”, and Mr Augusto Di Giacinto, Director ITA - Italian Trade Agency Shanghai Office, who confirmed the importance of the Shanghai district by representing an important segment of the CCIC membership base.
Connected via video conferencing, Mr Paolo Bazzoni, CICC Chairman, provided an insight into CICC's recent achievement, focusing on the importance of expanding CICC's initiatives throughout the whole Chinese territory, in synergy with the local partners.
The total number of Members in the East Area is now 364 (48.7% of total members). Since 2019, CICC Members and Friends have increased by 70.9%.
CICC is growing and expanding its coverage of the territories and continuously cooperating with Members and Friends. Among the recent hot topics and focus of the CICC are the flights' situation and the issue of the Electricity Usage Restriction, which is affecting many Italian companies in the East area and in the whole Chinese territory.
Mr Canepa presented the project of creating a Sino-Italian industry-university cooperation platform between CICC and Tongji University in Shanghai, which will provide the CICC members with important opportunities. One of the foci of this cooperation is the promotion of the many “Italian hidden champions”, companies which, despite being often global leaders in their specific sectors, are not well known by the Chinese professionals.
Mr Chen Wei, CICC Office Manager in Shanghai, and Mr Giacomo Bove, CICC Board Member in Suzhou, provided a comprehensive overview of the membership situation and activities in the area.
In the following session, three presentations focused on the activities of CICC Working Groups:
The CICC Working Groups showed the various and many activities that are in progress, such as Business Networking Events, Factory Tours, Seminars and Webinars. The main idea and goal are not only to strengthen the activity of the single WG, but also to create opportunities of cooperation across the WGs.
The speakers also mentioned, among the possible ways to improve the awareness of the Italian companies, the use of digital tools (Mini program App).
The last part of the meeting was dedicated to a panel discussion about the “Business environment in the East Area” (focus on Shanghai policies for regional HQ and R&D centres, Dual Circulation, Restriction for power consumption).
The panellists provided very important insights into their business sectors.
"We are focusing on Promoting the Made in Italy, which is a very important part of our sales in China. In the past few years, the retail business has had a different growth in the different areas of China: the north was slowly going down, while the cities of the South (Shenzhen, Guangzhou) and the East (Shanghai and Hangzhou) had a very good growth. Regarding the West of the country, we have a mixed situation. Chengdu, which has just opened the new international airport and is now a first tier city is showing very good results while Chongqing retail market will likely reach Chengdu maturity level in a couple of years."
-Claudio Grillenzoni, Group Head of Retail of Florentia Village - A large corporate (1.8 Billion Euro revenues) with 7 outlets and 4 restaurants in China
"In my opinion, the challenges that we are facing are mainly in two sectors: HR and Logistics. HR has always been a challenge in China. For such a big country and a big population, we always had huge constraint in finding and training personnel. Personnel turnover with rising costs of employees is probably the biggest challenge even right now. It is in fact still difficult to find enough blue collars especially in the Suzhou area and even if the personnel turnover rate decreased due to people mobility constraint (Covid) it is correct to say that costs of both personnel and personnel training have anyway increased.
When I speak about logistics, I am of course talking of both goods’ transportation and people mobility between countries. The first represents, however, a big opportunity and at all levels transportation companies have seen increasing their revenues but that is causing an increase of the cost of goods, not always reflected in the final customer price and therefore negatively impacting the margin of our manufacturing companies. Regarding mobility, it is enough to say that since SMEs very often do not have the resources of MNC we normally share know-how and personnel between different factories and different offices, often among different countries and continents. The drastic decrease in mobility due to both immigration control and quarantines is in fact putting on hold lots of new investment, maintenance plans and in general all programs and business plans that need transfer of personnel between Europe, the US and China."
-Giacomo Bove, General Manager at Ponzini Health and Beauty High-Tech (Suzhou) Co., Ltd. - SME focused on B2B and supplier of large consumers goods groups like Unilever and L’Oreal
"With customer-centric as core value, Comau China has established a solid cooperative relationship with local Chinese customers, in the field of automotive manufacturing and has deployed advanced automation technology in all fields of industrial manufacturing, to help improve the overall level of automation and productivity.
Despite the additional challenges of the global pandemic, the synergy of Comau’s innovative technologies, experience and competence in engineering, assembly, machining, and robotics, and the strong global strength has enabled us to fully meet the needs of this complex operation and the high standards of customers.
Comau (Shanghai) Engineering Co., Ltd. was officially accredited as the headquarters of APAC by Shanghai government at the beginning of 2019, thanks to the great support from Shanghai government, and also the support from Songjiang and Sijing government."
-Angela Chang, Marketing Communication Manager at Comau (Shanghai) Engineering Co., Ltd. - A large corporate, belonging to the Stellantis group, supplying most of global cars manufacturers with automation solutions
The meeting ended with a Q&A session, in which Board Members provided answers to the questions raised.
The CCIC would like to thank all those who took part in the meeting.
The CICC Team