Italian companies are increasingly attracted by the opportunities offered by different Chinese provinces for their strategic investments.
"China is considered less and less a single market by our small- and medium-sized companies (SMEs)," Thomas Rosenthal, Director of the Centre of Studies for Enterprises (CeSIF) at Milan-based Italy-China Foundation, said at a conference here on Wednesday.
"It is seen instead as an aggregate of markets at the provincial level, each with its own peculiarities," Rosenthal added.
This new perception, which has grown following an increased awareness of China's huge potentials, requires new instruments of knowledge, he noted.
The new China Indicator of Provincial Business Attractiveness (CIBA) launched by Italy-China Foundation and other institutions takes into account thousands of variables to create a ranking of Chinese provinces for Italian investors, he explained.
"China is seen as a more and more open country flying high in the value chain," Rosenthal stressed.
What is particularly interesting, he noted, is that a higher economic output of a certain province does not always correspond to a higher level of attractiveness for Italian companies.
Presently, Guangdong province ranks first in the CIBA indicator, followed by Jiangsu and the provincial-level municipality of Shanghai.
The CeSIF director also estimated that 2015 will be the "platinum year" of Chinese investments in Italy, in line with "golden year" 2014, which has seen sizable Chinese investments in Italian utilities and the recent agreement on the Chinese entrance to tyremaker Pirelli.