An Italian Voice from Automotive

After our first interview in the design and interior decoration field company with a Chinese voice, this week we are going deeply into the automotive field with an Italian voice.

In recent years, Italian direct investments in China were directed for a big part in the automotive field and its sub-fields. With this week’s interview to Mr. Riccardo Budriesi, the president of Marposs Shanghai Trading Co. LTD, we are aiming at understand more about doing business between China and Italy through the voice of a businessman involved deeply in the field since ten years.


Marposs is a highly globalized company founded in Bologna, Italy in 1952. It has 80 branches in 25 countries around the world. In Asia since 1986 has opened a Chinese company (MST) in 2004 to take care of the aftersales and in 2008 it opened the production factory Nanjing Marposs Automation Equipment Co., Ltd.. Our products are used for functions, measurement systems, leakage and quality inspections. It covers a wide range of fields, such as automobiles, machine tools, bearings, medical equipments, aerospace and other industries. The Chinese companies are mainly dedicated to providing customers with product sales and services. Our customers also know that our products come from Italy with high quality, advanced technology as well as our business philosophy and operating capabilities.


Q: Does the EU's import and export policy matter in doing your business?

A: It has a great impact, because the components of some products come from Italy or Germany then shipped to Nanjing for assembly. Our main product transportation channels are dependent on import and export policies, tariff changes, and even weather effects. Therefore, in order to reduce the delay in transportation, it is necessary to reach a more complete plan and handling process with the supplier.

Q: Products/projects and related cultural differences: influences in doing business?

A: I think that when doing business in China, it is important to understand the differences in attitudes towards commodities, capital investment and markets brought about by the cultural differences between the two countries. Of course, it is also important to understand how to get along with Chinese colleagues. It is easy for the Chinese to spot business opportunities and seize them by adapting to requirements. The Italians tend to be obsessed with one area. Therefore, understanding these differences in interpersonal relationships and thinking is very helpful for us to conduct business locally and for Chinese companies to understand the advantages and limitations of the Italian model.


Q: The trade between Italy and China has a long history, do you think the import and export channel is systematic today? Are there many business partners to choose? Is it difficult to choose the right ones?

A: China and Italy have very good access channels. Italy gives great importance to the Chinese market and has a lot of investment in China. A considerable number of Italian brands also have investment from Chinese companies. The two countries are mutually beneficial and the cooperation is definitely a win-win one. I think the future exchanges between China and Italy will transform to talent introduction. For our company, because we have branches all over the world, and the products we produce are prominent in the industry so the number of customers is huge. At present, there are many manufacturers in the field of precision machinery in Shanghai, Jiangsu Province and Zhejiang Province thus there are many partners to choose from. However, because our products require high precision, the difficulty is to clearly communicate our product requirements or concepts to the suppliers who provide us with parts, so it was not easy to find reliable and stable suppliers.


Q: What advice do you have for communication problems during counseling?

A: The most important thing is to let Italians understand Chinese culture, the process of business formation, emerging industrial chains and product positioning. China currently not only manufactures products with lower costs, but many well-known companies such as Meituan, Huawei, and Vivo also account for a large share of software development, integrated circuit, electronic component production, mobile phone development etc. Therefore, it is necessary to change the Italians' traditional concept of the Chinese market. Another example is in the battery field, where Chinese companies are booming worldwide giving challenges to Panasonic and LG.

Q: Business Fairs and exhibition: which part is more difficult, which one need more support from a third party? Matchmaking in advance would help?

A: In the exhibition, getting a good booth is very important. In addition, for Italian small and medium-sized enterprises that do not understand China, especially when market investment is very limited, online publicity, popularization of public familiarity, and event layout all require third-party support to open sales channels and find suitable partners. Surely the thing that businessmen should ask themselves is: are physical “live” fairs the right tool, or we can explore different kind of online events to be able to reach even a more big audience?

Q: Marketing communication for the enterprise that you deal with: which channels need more support from a third party?

A: Our company is addressing new industries so, as market demand changes, our model is also changing accordingly. So we need a third party to analyze the potential market in line with our company’s interests, new sales channels and new partners. In addition, we also need third parties to develop online marketing communication channels that meet the needs of current customers. What’s more, third parties can also act as legal, tax, and budget review consultants to handle company business.

Virtual Business Tours to Italy

Q: Regarding our Virtual Business Tours to Italy: would you be interested in participating?

A: We’d be interested in attending. Because of the scope of our business, we are more interested in machinery companies.

Thanks a lot for the time to Riccardo Budriesi and our trainee Angelica Wang. Stay tuned for the next interview!

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