The last 3 years, and especially 2022, have been years of unpredictability and resilience. “Back to the Future - What's Next?” is not just the title of the event that on December 8th brought together 130 representatives of the Italian, European and Chinese business communities to talk about the future of business in China for the next year. Back to the future is what the companies who met at last week's round table wish for 2023.
The business roundtable, moderated by Giada Piccinini, CICC Board Member and head of GWA - Greatway Advisory (Shanghai office), focused on China’s outlook for 2023. It opened with welcome remarks delivered by Paolo Bazzoni, Chairman of the China-Italy Chamber of Commerce, Tiziana D'Angelo, Consul General of Italy in Shanghai, and Augusto Di Giacinto, Director of Italian Trade Agency (ITA-ICE) Shanghai.
As stressed by Chairman Bazzoni:
"Today we are witnessing a turning point, after an unpredictable year in which our companies, severely tested by a situation of constant instability, have shown great resilience. However, resilience cannot last forever. Now is the time to go back to looking to the future and quickly resume activities, to create the value for which we are here."
Underlining the importance of the business advocacy pursued by our Chamber of Commerce in all the main regions of China, Bazzoni reiterated to the audience to work hard and stay together.
"In this challenging times, the cooperation between institutions and the private sector is crucial."
The Consul General of Italy in Shanghai, Tiziana D'Angelo, remarked.
"Despite all the challenges experienced in 2022, China still remains one of the biggest and most important markets for our companies. Initiatives like the one hosted today are extremely important to keep us up to date, to share analysis and to equip our companies with a better knowledge of the new context when approaching the Chinese market with a new perspective," Consul General D'Angelo stressed.
"The cooperation between institutions and private entities is crucial and its especially during difficult times like this unpredictable year that teamwork plays a key role in the promotion of made in Italy in China."
The Director of Italian Trade Agency (ITA-ICE) Shanghai, Augusto Di Giacinto, underlined.
The first part of the event concluded with a presentation by Lorenzo Riccardi, CICC Treasurer and Managing Partner of RsA (Shanghai), on the recent launch of the China-Italy Business Map.
The China-Italy Business Map is a powerful tool capable of providing a clear snapshot of Italian investments, local and foreign partners of Sistema Italia in the various territories of China, thanks to which Italian companies are able to identify new business opportunities and counterparts in China – a pivotal role in planning activities for the upcoming year.
Scan the QR code below to access it:
Getting to the heart of the discussion, McKinsey Senior Partners Jonathan Woetzel, leader of McKinsey Global Institute in China, and Daniel Zipser, leader of Consumer & Retail Practice in Asia, offered China Macroeconomics outlook and insights from the soon-to-be-released “2023 China Consumer Report”.
China has been a rising economy in past decades and is well on its way to becoming the world’s largest economy despite the difficulties of these past years.
Chinese consumers are poised to start spending again in 2023. Despite a steep decline in consumer confidence and a surge in savings in 2022, Chinese consumers could be poised to start spending again in 2023, according to a new report by McKinsey & Company. To find out more about the highlights of the 2023 China Consumer Report, click here.
The following part of the event featured a discussion panel focused on luxury and lifestyle. Claudio Grillenzoni, CICC Board Member & Group Retail Director at Florentia Village, acted as moderator while the speakers Mirko Bordiga, Vice President Maserati Greater China, Giuseppe De Biasi, General Manager Retail Greater China at Luxottica, Marcela Dalla Porta, Country Manager Calzedonia Group, and Alex Pan, CEO of Shanghai Jahwa, shared their insights on the 2023 prospects for their respective fields.
While 2022 was undoubtedly a difficult and unpredictable year for retail, both online and offline, there seem to be good chances for improvement. The keyword for the upcoming year is flexibility; not only being prepared for all kinds of possible situations but also being able to find a balance between adapting their approach to be fitting for the Chinese market and retaining the company’s global identity. Digitalization will also play an increasingly prominent role, considering how greatly social communication can influence customer behaviour.
The second module of panelists was moderated by Ilaria Massa, CICC Board Member & APAC Human Resources Head at Eni Versalis, and focused on the mechanical and automotive sectors. The conversation involved Lorenzo Bali, Deputy General Manager at Pelliconi Suzhou, Gaetano Cantalupo, CEO at Comau China, Harry Hui, Founder and Managing Partner at ClearVue, Luca Pozzi, General Manager at Manuli Hydraulics (Suzhou) Co., Ltd., Danilo Teobaldi, Vice President Vehicle Engineering NIO, and Simone Trazzi, Apac COO and President, Apac Regional - Managing Director, Board Director at UFI FILTERS Group.
Electric vehicles are growing fast and the Chinese market is rapidly transitioning from high-performance cars to digital-experience-focused ones. The younger generations prioritise technology and entertainment; foreign cars wanting to maintain their premium status must invest in innovative solutions, quality control and faster reaction to the market.
Overall, it seems the last 20 years of best practices are no longer relevant as we’re moving to a more regulated and increasingly competitive environment. Companies are now younger, smarter, more global and innovating and the best way to keep up is adapting.
An advice to brands for 2023 is to be prepared for an increasingly volatile business climate, build a robust supply chain able to predict and rapidly react to uncertainties and establish a strong connection with the consumers to convert them in brand ambassadors.
We kindly thank all panelists for their valuable insights and all participants for attending this special event.
The Business Roundtable was followed by Christmas celebrations at the Restaurant Calypso.
All photos are available by scanning the following QR code: