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July 15, 2019

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Italian firms cashing in on Shanghai opportunities

The first batch of 11 Italian startups have come to the city to internationalize their scope under the Italian government’s new Global Startup Program.

Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development has launched the program to provide Italian startups with access to the global market in six countries — China, Japan, the UK, the US, Slovenia and South Korea. It chose Shanghai over other candidates including Beijing and Shenzhen as the first landing city in China.

Michele Geraci, Italy’s undersecretary of the Ministry Economic Development, was greatly impressed by Shanghai’s international and dynamic innovation ecosystem during his two visits to the city last year.

Then came cooperation between the Italian Trade Agency and the Shanghai Technology Innovation Center, a government-affiliated body experienced in coordinating the incubation network and international startup ecosystem in Shanghai.

The 11 Italian startups cover fields in the world’s leading technologies such as virtual reality, smart home solutions and genetic testing.

They will be offered three-month workspace in four of the city’s leading incubators and accelerators — the Caohejing Innovation Center, XNode, InnoSpace and neoBay — and access to a full suite of services, including coaching, financing and tailored events.

Carlo Ferro, president of Italian Trade Agency, said China and Italy hold the same views on development and both focus on internationalization and innovation.

“China has such a huge market and is an ideal place to seek cooperation,” he said.

“In China, Shanghai’s innovation ecosystem holds the leading place, and it is dynamic and creative.

“Globally, Shanghai is one of very few cities that can provide everything from technological support to rich resources to startups.”

Zhu Zhenghong, director of the Shanghai Technology Innovation Center, said Italy wants to explore China’s huge market and local companies want technology.

“We hope to drive more cooperation as for mutual development,” he said. “It’s just the beginning. In the future, we hope to export our own startups.”

Ferro said the program aims to promote 104 Italian startups to be launched in the overseas market and Chinese cities.


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