Interview: Italian 'way of life' to lead 2010 Shanghai Expo, official says

Updated: 2009-12-17 08:38
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ROME: The Italian "way of life" will be exposed and is set to play a leading role at the 2010 Shanghai Expo, Beniamino Quintieri, government supervisor for the event, told Xinhua in an interview on Tuesday.

"The Italian government is working at a rich program for the universal exposition of 2010, full of events. An enormous pavilion will be set-up, along with a permanent exhibition of the Made-in- Italy traditional products," he said.

Quintieri, who has recently returned from a visit to Shanghai, explained that the goal is to spread awareness not just in China but in all Asia of "Italy's excellencies in all sectors, especially on the agro-alimentary industry and culinary traditions of our country."

Considering that Shanghai Expo leading theme is "Better city, better life," the Italian contribution to the exhibition will concentrate as well on architecture, environment, city well-being and life quality, he added.

"Our exposition will be titled 'The Italian Way of Life,' already much appreciated world-wide," Quintieri said, adding that at the core of the so-called Italian style is food of quality and great variety.

"Italian cuisine and diet have a global appeal which is increasing year on year bringing to a great success and admiration for our agro-alimentary industry."

However, according to Quintieri, there is still a limited penetration of Italian products in Asian and Chinese markets with regard to the potentialities of both food and wine appeal.

"Among the challenges Italy must face is the promotion of the country's cuisine in the world, and in this Shanghai Expo can help a lot," he said.

"At the universal exposition we will open two restaurants, bring our best cooks and firms, and present our typical regional food varieties."

But spreading awareness of Italian agro-alimentary goods is not an easy task.

"The process of educating Chinese consumers to particular types of Italian food requires time. The promotion activity is complicated and food companies must study the market and understand what people in China might like and what they may not."

The whole point is knowing what to sponsor, identifying the winning products, he explained.

Made-in-Italy products have a great appeal to Chinese consumers and this must be enhanced. "The new rising Chinese bourgeoisie is strongly attracted towards Italian fashion and design, take for example the Ferrari."

Quintieri praised the excellent state of commercial ties between Italy and China.

"At the beginning Italy's small and medium enterprises had difficulties in penetrating the market with regard to multinationals. But now they are stronger and have become more reliable thanks to sound regulations," he said.

Quintieri went on saying that "for Italian firms China is a market of enormous opportunities. In the past companies looked at China as a mere place from where to produce and then export, but today our firms look at the potentialities of the Chinese market."

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