ROME, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- The Italy-China Foundation on Friday unveiled a new initiative aimed at helping Italian companies and their shareholders to find commercial partners in China in preparation for doing business in the country.
The initiative, launched with the collaboration of the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), was announced during an online event that linked officials in Milan and Beijing.
The new platform, called the Business Matchmaker, is aimed at small- and medium-sized enterprises in Italy that might lack the economies of scale to seek out Chinese partners on their own.
"The project aims to help Italian and Chinese companies... that need to be supported during a delicate phase like the one we are in to establish collaborative relationships," Mario Boselli, president of the Italy-China Foundation, said during the online event. "We are particularly pleased with this alliance and with the possibility of bringing this project to fruition."
Sergio Miele, a senior business development consultant with the Chinese bank's Milan branch, called the new initiative "an exceptional tool, the realization of which has been accelerated by the [coronavirus] pandemic."
The initiative launches with more than 20,000 Chinese companies -- all potential partners for Italian firms -- registered in a database. By June, that figure is expected to increase to more than 100,000 Chinese entities, according to Li Zong, deputy general manager of the ICBC's Inclusive Finance Department.
"We have included the companies that participated in today's presentation in the list of special guests of the platform as a way to make the registration process more efficient," Li said. "We will launch a new version of the platform in June, with many new features."
The ICBC, China's largest commercial lender, signed a collaboration agreement with the Italy-China Foundation last year, setting the groundwork for the ICBC Business Matchmaker initiative.