Research and Development in China for the Abruzzo’s businesses

This article was originally published in Italian in IL CENTRO on 12th Jul 2022.

Please note that this is a courtesy translation of the Italian language article originally published in the IL CENTRO newspaper.

Research and development (R&D) is the part of a company’s activities that leverage on knowhow and experience in the sector to design new articles and to improve products, services, technologies and processes. In addition to creating brand new lines and innovative functions on the produces already present in the market, R&D can bring obvious advantages to a business, such as increasing productivity and sales volumes, reducing costs, as well as implementing strategic positioning and branding.

2022 is a positive year for the Abruzzo region, which will receive additional R&D projects funding for a total of around 14.5 million euro, following the 25 May 2022 Decree.  Moreover, according to Italian National Institute of Statistics (“ISTAT”)’s data relating to the period 2019-2021, Abruzzo had already recorded an increase in R&D expenditure of +15% compared to 2018, being second only to the Lombardy region (+20.2%).

But the success of the made-in-Abruzzo’s innovation is not limited to the borders of the Bel Paese.

An example of an Abruzzo company that decided to invest in emerging markets is Valagro S.p.a, a leading company in the production and commercialization of bio stimulants, that has recently launched newhighly innovative developments which will be used in China to address the issue of producing food for about a fifth of the world’s population on a small amount of arable land available in the Country.

Another of the main "pioneers" of our region with a presence in the People's Republic of China (PRC) is Fameccanica S.p.a, a machinery manufacturer specialized in automation and robotics, which established its technological pole in Shanghai already in 2011 with 16,000 square meters of dedicated structure and 670 employees worldwide.

Also worth mentioning is Assut Europe, an innovative medical equipment giant founded in 1991 in Magliano dei Marsi (L'Aquila) also present in China.

However, the presence of Valagro, Fameccanica and Assut companies  in China is not a pure coincidence. In fact, there are many Italian companies that have decided to invest in the Chinese market, as shown by the constantly up-to-date figures of the Italian Trade Agency (ITA) in Beijing.

In fact, the PRC aims to become a world leader in science and innovation by 2050, announcing as early as 2015 its strategy to reach a global peak in a number of high-tech industries, such as robotics, aerospace equipment, medical devices, and more, with R&D spending of about $280 billion,  equal to 20% of the total world expenditure on R&D as well reported in "China's Innovation Ecosystem: Right for many, but not for all", recently published by European Union Chamber of Commerce in China (European Chamber).  In addition, according to a recent survey by the European Chamber, the positive feedback comes largely from the chemical sector, the automotive industry and the machinery sector, fields in which even Abruzzo companies     have had considerable success in the Chinese market, enjoying easy access and increasingly favorable conditions in recent years.

While considering China as an extremely fertile land for new commercial developments, it is nevertheless important for Abruzzo companies to safeguard their technical knowhow by using effective tools for the protection of intellectual property such as prior registration of trademarks and filing of patents, to fully reap the potential rewards of this highly competitive marketplace.

In order to promote trade relations between China and Abruzzo, creating new jobs in the area and attracting foreign investments, it is also important that government of our Region organizes sector missions and allocates useful funds for fairs and exhibitions.  Parallel to this, universities and high schools can offer Chinese language courses to create an ecosystem formed by educational institutions, companies, and local administrations for the internationalization of the Abruzzo region.