Interview to Consul General Mrs. Wang Dong
by Ivan De Stefano
China is strengthening its relationship with Italy by being open to all initiatives whether they are cultural, social or economic. To discuss this we talk with the Chinese Consul-General, Ms. Wang Dong in Milan.
Would you please talk to us about Chinese cooperation with Italy since the Chines Consulate General in Milan has done a lot to promote the commercial activities between Chinese and Italian enterprises?
In the last few years cooperation between China and Italy has increased and broadened its scale. Italy is the fifth largest Chinese partner in Europe and China is Italy’s largest partner in Asia. One of the missions of the Chinese Consulate General is to promote the bilateral economic and commercial development between the two nations and the Commercial Section of the Chinese Consulate General bears the main responsibility as follows: Firstly, through consultancy, we present the respective situations of economic development to Chinese and Italian companies as well as information on competitive industries, investment policies and environment, relevant, laws and regulation procedures and processes regarding setting up companies and other useful notices. Secondly, through trade investment projects, we help Chinese delegations and companies to develop their commercial activities and to promote marketing and negotiations in Italy; we assist in organizing the direct communication and project matching for companies in both countries including seeking for partners investment promotions in businesses and wits and the introduction of Italian products of famous brands and high quality to China.
Thirdly, through researches, we follow the operation of the Chinese-invested companies in Italy, and render timely information on the changes, problems and trends regarding the Chinese invested enterprises so as to give reference for companies intending to invest in Italy. And fourthly, through publicity of China, in different ways such as holding forums ,conventions or via local media, we present successfully the economic achievements, investment policies in China and the key fields to invest into, thereby building Italian enterprises’ confidence and allaying fears with regard to certain doubts ,resulting mutual awareness.
What are the different platforms of economic and trade cooperation between Italy and China? Could you name some of them?
There are many means and ways to cooperate in business and trade between Italy and China, say, “A three-year Action Plan to Economic Cooperation Between Italy and China ”, “Trade Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding Between Italy and China in the Five Priority Areas”, the Sino-Italian Trade Cooperation Forum. At present there are almost 100 Chinese companies in Italy which have created over 2000 jobs. It is in 2015 that we celebrate the forty-fifth anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relationship between China and Italy and the fortieth anniversary of Chinese-European relations when Milan hosts Expo 2015. In March, 2015, the Chinese government proposed “Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road” (hereinafter referred to as the Belt and Road), in order to link the Asian economic circle with the European one. On June 8, 2015, Wang Yang, Chinese Vice Premier responsible for economic and commercial affairs, was present at National Chinese Day at Expo 2015. During the Vice Premier’s visit He exchanged points of view with Italian counterparts about further cooperation in trade, innovation and agriculture. These are believed to give renewed impetus to development and cooperation in various fields such as economy, trade and culture as well between the two countries. I would also like to take this opportunity to say that the Chinese Consulate General will do its utmost to create synergy for both Italian and Chinese enterprises.
What expectations does China have for its involvement in Expo 2015 in your opinion?
Expo Shanghai 2010 was a resounding success and I am sure that Milan, the twin city of Shanghai, will be equally successful. It’s the first time that China builds its own pavilion at foreign expo and apart from Chi na’s National Pavilion, we have the Vankee Pavilion and the China Corporate United Pavilion (CCUP) with a total area of more than 6700 square meters. The largest overseas exhibition that China has ever had displays China’s strong support and positive involvement in this event. The theme of the national pavilion is land of hope, food for life” and it traces China’s long history and the splendid culture highlights China’s responsibility for future development. Eighteen provinces (including municipalities or autonomous regions) are planned to have their respective week exhibitions including commercial exchanges, intangible cultural heritage exhibitions and some art shows . Beijing, Shanghai and Hubei province held their exhibition weeks, which proved to be huge success. In the CCUP Pavilion, large Chinese companies in industries such as aerospace, high-speed rail, shipping, electronics, food, modern iron and steel, have demonstrated the progress and development China has made in these advanced technologies. Meanwhile it generates an open platform for the cooperation between Chinese and Italian companies, and some of contact and communication activities were carried out well before the opening of the Expo.
We have good reason to believe that Expo 2015 will play a significant role in driving the in-depth cooperation between China, Italy and other countries.
The Vankee Pavilion built by one single company, the first one to complete its construction and arrange its exhibition, is a clear demonstration of “China’s speed” and “China’s efficiency”. What’s more, the three pavilions are masterpieces jointly designed and built by Chinese and Italian experts and workers. Expo Milan 2015 will attract some 20 million visitors, amongst which at least 1 million visitors are expected from China. It is not difficult to reach the target based on the first month’s number of visitors. However, the expectation for the Expo is not solely the increase of visitors, the commercial opportunities and exchange platforms for all around cooperation from national to local levels count more and we have witnessed the role and effect.
What is your opinion about Italian technology innovative ability and manufacturing industry?
Italy is strong in manufacturing. ‘Made in Italy’ by now has become a brand representing high quality products , with elegant and unique design and excellent craftsmanship, all of which are held up by technology . innovation. Though it is seems that Italian innovative ability is only at the average level among European countries according to some innovation index, it cannot be denied its force in design, inheritance of techniques, product of differentiations, and in my view, they are the keys to the fame of products made in Italy. Each Italian product is the culmination of its design philosophy, spirit, tradition and innovation.
Italy and China have a lot to complement in manufacturing, and there exists vast space to cooperate since at present, China has been improving its industrial and technological systems, advocating entrepreneurship and innovation. In 2011, China-Italy Technology Transfer Center (CITTC) was set up and a forum is annually held. In 2014, the premiers of both countries participated in the Week of Innovation at the Polytechnic of Milan and on June 8, 2015, Vice Premier Wang Yang, visiting the Milan Expo on the Chinese national pavilion day, attended with Stefania Giannini, the Minister of Further Education and Research, the special Sino-Italian forum on innovation, which suggests the high-level attention of both sides. These days, the world is caught up in a new phase of development which undoubtedly depends greatly on innovation, which needs international foresight and open-minded cooperation. It is hoped that Expo Milano will lead the Sino-Italian innovation cooperation to a new phase.
Do you enjoy being in Italy?
What do Chinese visitors think of Italy’s natural geographic heritage?
Italy is a country with rich historical cultural relics and remains and it ranks first in the number of places of interest in the world on . the list of UNESCO world heritage. What’s more, Italy is a tourist country with charming natural landscaped to attract artists and tourists from all over the world for visit and inspiration. Even though I have only been here for a few months. I have had the opportunity to visit some wonderful parts of Italy. Lake Maggiore and Lake Como are both breath-taking and absolutely beautiful. On the list that my friends have advised to see are places like Lake Garda, the Alps, and the Amalfi Coast and I hope to visit these beautiful areas soon. In recent years, the number of Chinese tourists in Italy has increased constantly. According to statistics, in 2014, more than 1.8 million of Chinese tourists visited Italy. This year, Milan Expo 2015, will witness that the number will surely double. For Italians, Italy is the ‘Bel Paese’ (beautiful country) and it also enjoys great popularity among Chinese people. At the same time, the Italian government and its people, its history, pay much attention to the preservation of its architectural and cultural patrimony and put priority to ecology and nature, which are much admired by Chinese.
On April 13, with the help of the Chinese Consulate General, Confucius Institute of Milan University jointly held the food promotion with a magazine, and the colorful activities attracted more visitors than we expected. This event focused on the Milan Expo and invited the designer of the Chinese to pavilions to present the project with a trailer of the CCUP and the Vankee video. This event stimulated the curiosity of our Italian friends and so I think that this was an aperitif to the official opening of Expo Milan 2015 and a good opportunity to show China much more closely. My thanks go to the Confucius Institute and the magazine as well as everyone involved for all the effort made for the a success. I believe this is a great form of cooperation and I hope similar initiatives will take place in the future.
More and more women are taking up positions in international diplomacy with great success. Is this a sign of more openness to a women’s world ?
I am convinced that women are competent for these positions both in domestic and diplomatic affairs and we will not fail to live up to those who entrust us with the expectations.
To our question about the evolution of training in Italy, Mr. Fezzi replies:
“Today, thanks to national and international partnerships, Corsi Corsari aims to offer cultural and training courses as well as environments that are totally new for the Italian mentality. Our courses range from cinema to philosophy and calligraphy. Just to mention our language courses, for example, today we have classes for 13 different languages. We also organize train and boat courses, for both individuals and companies. On the train, for example, there may be a manager who needs to prepare for a conference or a meeting, or just to finalize a contract. With us, during the downtime of the train trip he can work with a personal coach and prepare adequately, analyzing all possible scenarios. We can also offer boat training courses, to individuals or to companies, in some of the most beautiful Italian resorts. Our boats are moored in the new marina of Cecina, Tuscany, from where we can reach enchanting locations such as Portovenere, Cinque Terre, the islands of Gorgona, Capraia, Elba, Giglio and the north-east coast of Corsica.”
“What Corsi Corsari believes in and aims to in terms of direct training for the Italian companies”, Fezzi continues, “comes from the collaboration with Matteo Catullo, who ensured that Corsi Corsari brought together the Italian leaders of the Creative Education Foundation. These leaders were trained at the CPSI (Creative Problem Solving Institute) at the Buffalo University for several years. They are professional facilitators, and in 2002 they founded the Crea Association, which for 13 years has been organizing the most important Europea
n conference on creative thinking. Such conference is mainly directed to professionals, educators, people looking for new personal development paths and representatives of important companies. CREA hosted executives, professionals, students and employees from prestigious companies, multinationals and universities such as Coca Cola, Danone, Nestle, LG Electronics, University of Cambridge, Renault, Unicredit, Unesco “. Today Corsi Corsari offers training courses on Creative Problem Solving, Foursight and Business In Treatment “.
Fezzi continues: “CPS is a structured process that promotes the flexibility of thinking. Essentially, this method enables to approach problem solving – in different company departments, or for new objectives – by bringing innovation into thinking and imagination. The CPS process was first developed in the USA in the 50s, but it is still unknown to many Italian companies.”
“I believe that every person” – Fezzi tells us – “ regardless of his/her job, can think creatively. The method I promote, the Creative Problem Solving Process (CPS) and the Creative Thinking Skills, is in my opinion powerful and effective in generating creativity and in implementing it into the daily activity.”
FourSight was born in the early ‘90s, by the work of Gerard J. Puccio Ph.D, professor at the International Centre for Studies in Creativity.
“The other important aspect” – Fezzi continues – “is FourSight. As a matter of fact, in people the level of energy and interest varies, as far as the key elements of the creative process are concerned: problem identification, idea generation, development of a solution, implementation plan and action.
The FourSight assessment tool is designed to help people identify their inclination within the Creative Problem Solving process. Those who participate in this program can get answers on their degree of inclination in 4 areas: Clarifier, Creator, Developer, Implementer.”
In summary, we understand that people are given great importance, enabling each one to explore his/her deeper potential.