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he pursuit of inheritance and the development of collaboration China – Italy – Ticino Family Business Cooperation Forum Held in Ningbo

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On the afternoon of September the 17th, nearly 200 family business leaders from China, Italy and Switzerland, experts and scholars and “Ningbo Enterprise Successors Union” met in Jiangbei District of Ningbo City to attend the "Inheritance, Cooperation and Development", the theme of the first China – Italy - Ticino Family Business Cooperation Forum. The Deputy Director of the Economic and Technical Experts Division of State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs Lei Fengyun, the Vice Minister of the Municipal Party Committee Organization Office and Director of Ningbo Human Resources and Social Security Bureau Mr. Chen Yu, the Deputy Secretary of Jiangbei District and District Mayor Ding Xiaofang, together with the Consul of the Consulate General of Switzerland in Shanghai Simona Lodolo and the Representative of the Consulate General of Italy in Shanghai Francoise Killias Zillweger, attended the event.

The event has got the Economic and Technical Experts Division of State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs as the guide, is hosted by Ningbo Human Resources and Social Security Bureau and Jiangbei District People’s Government; organized by Ningbo Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, United Front Work Department of Jiangbei District, Jiangbei District Human Resources and Social Security Bureau, Italian Family Enterprises Association, Swiss Family Enterprises Association, Ningbo Enterprise Successors Union, New Generation Enterprises Association of Jiangbei; co-organized by Hengdian Group Europe, Zhejiang University Institute of Entrepreneurs, College of Successor of Family Business, Ningbo Dedalo Business Management Company Co.,Ltd. and Blue Source Capital. The Italian and Swiss family enterprises associations invited to participate to the forum the ZAmbon Pharmaceutical Group, the S0L Energy and Medical Technology Group and the Swiss CIB Bank. Moreover, 20 representatives of other nine family enterprises joined the forum. It is the first time for Ningbo to have so many international family businesses as guests, and for the city entrepreneurs to have such an exchange possibility, the chance to examine together, from multiple views, the family business innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, to explore the family business prosperity of the inheritance way they follow.

As an important part of Ningbo private economy, Ningbo family business was born early and strong inside the manufacturing industry. Between the more than 20 million industrial enterprises in the city, more than 90% are family business, and they gave birth to many domestic and global "excellences" giving an irreplaceable contribution to Ningbo’s economy. With the economic development entering the new situation, the family enterprises are joining the opening reforms of the country and they’re facing the development and transformation, but also the problem of intergenerational heritage. The majority of family business have attitude to follow the economic development, we just have to mobilize the power of the whole society to help them with the introduction of talents, to standardize the governance, to manage the intergenerational transmission and other key issues, to make Ningbo’s economic transformation stable and long lasting. From a global perspective, Italy and Switzerland family businesses have a long history and good governance structure, some family businesses survived for hundreds years to the chaos of war, political troubles, economic changes, and they still have a strong development potential. Currently, the world's top 9 of the 20 most ancient family businesses are from Italy and Switzerland. These have a lean product, high-end brand and a long history and heritage of national cultural spirit, experience that could give a great contribution to the promotion of regional economic development and knowledge of Ningbo’s family businesses.

Representatives from China Italy and Switzerland were invited to take lecture during the forum. Between them: Professor Corbetta from Bocconi University of Milan and head of the Italian Family Enterprises Management Course, giving a speech about "A hundred years heritage of Italian family enterprises - brand and craftsman spirit"; the Swiss USI University professor Columbus, Dean of AMC School of Management, giving a lecture entitled "Inheritance of Swiss Family Enterprises for one hundred years - Wealth Management of Family Enterprises"; Prof. Chen Ling, Dean of Zhejiang University Institute for Entrepreneurs, giving a lecture entitled "China’s Family Enterprises towards a hundred years.

The forum also carried the theme “Heritage Dialogue between China and the West,to Build a lasting foundation”. Other distinguished guests invited were: Ms. Elena Zambon, President of Italian Family Enterprise Association, Chairman of Zambon Pharmaceutical Group; Mr. Mirko Audemars, General Manager of AUDEMARS Group and the entrepreneurs of Ningbo Enterprise Successors Union. In addition, in order to further promote the cooperation between China, Italy and Switzerland, Ningbo International Talents Exchange Association and Ningbo Enterprise Successors Union signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Italian and Swiss Family Business Associations. The participating Italian and Swiss companies also promoted their projects. In the evening, the local venture capital institutions in Ningbo and the entrepreneurs of our city and the foreign guests conducted a dialogue and exchange in the form of salon.

In recent years, supported by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, Ningbo Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs set up a series of market intelligence service platform, to achieve an international exchange of talents to improve the level of internationalization of the city. This forum set up a platform of Italian and Swiss family business exchanges and cooperation, help Ningbo family enterprises to learn advanced management concept, realize the sustainable development of enterprises, and help Italian and Swiss family businesses to gain a better understanding of Ningbo. To create conditions for talent, project and investment cooperation, is very important in order to attract Italy and Swiss enterprises to stay here and invest in Ningbo and enter the Chinese market. Through sincere and pragmatic cooperation, the forum will become a beautiful business card to promote friendly exchanges between China, Italy and Switzerland. Next time, this event will be taken as an opportunity to actively build and normalize cooperation mechanisms between the three family business associations, will attract more well-known international family enterprises to participate in the forum, so that the forum can become a service enterprise brand activities in our city, boosting the city's vast number of private enterprises, especially small and medium-sized enterprises in transition and upgrading.