The 2019 edition of the FIMI Forum, dedicated to the internationalization of Made in Italy, with a focus on India, was a great success

The eighth edition of FIMI, the Forum dedicated to the internationalization of Made in Italy, was held on December 10th, 2019. It was organized by Messe Frankfurt Italia in collaboration with  Design Diffusion World. This edition, titled “India e Made in Italy. Tecnologia e Design in una nuova prospettiva di mercato” (India and Made in Italy. Technology and design in a new market perspective), saw the participation of university professors, representatives of institutions, several professionals and companies, both Italian and Indian.

Who took part in FIMI 2019

The Forum moderated by Andrea Cabrini saw the participation of Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt, Alessandro Biamonti, Associate Professor, Design Department, Politecnico di Milano, Dean’s Delegate for International Relations with India, Luciano Pettoello Mantovani, Secretary of ICCI, Indian Chamber of Commerce in Italy, and Varda Taneja, INVEST INDIA, who provided an overview on the opportunities for development in India. Nitin Nagrale, General Secretary of the Hospitality Purchasing Managers’ Forum, Hitesh Bhatt, Marketing and Communications Director at Retailers Association of India, and Manish Khemka, Vivono Designs, offered an overview on the contract sector. Architects Aamir Sharma and Matteo Nunziati presented an overview on architectural projects in India. Finally, Mattia Fiorindo, Director of Communications and Marketing at FIMA Carlo Frattini, Andrea Monti, Sales Director at SEI Laser, and Roberto Zappa, member of the Supervisory Board of the Wittur Group, shared their experiences in India as Italian companies.

Professor Alessandro Biamonti, Design Department of Politecnico di Milano, Dean’s Delegate for International Relations with India, called the audience’s attention to a number; 1.361.265.797, India’s population. The comparison with Italian population, 60 million, makes us immediately realize what we are talking about.

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Alessandro Biamonti

India: a developing country

From FIMI 2019 we learnt that, in recent years, India has made enormous investments in infrastructures. To understand how fast this country is growing, it is enough to look at some pictures. India is becoming a modern and efficient country, with a 6.1% annual growth rate, between 2019 and 2020.

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Mumbai airport

It is estimated that the population will reach 1.5 billion by 2025, with a steadily increasing spending power. To complete this picture, we can add that India has climbed 69 positions in the ease of doing business index (from 132 to 63). In addition, it ranks 29th in the Global Innovation Index (climbing 52 positions), and 10th in the Logistic Performance Index.

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The new 14 lane Expressway Delhi-Meerut

Having established that India is a fast developing country, how can one deal with local realities to make business? Alessandro Biamonti emphasized the importance of dialogue as a necessary aspect to set up a business collaboration in another country, especially one that is large and complex as India.

Italian architecture and design in India

Matteo Nunziati, an architect who has worked in different countries around the world, shared his experience. “I was lucky enough to participate in very interesting architecture projects, including the Trump Tower in Pune, a very prestigious and costly project. On that occasion, I realized that the Italian way of designing is unique. While choosing the finishes for the interiors, for us Italians it was absolutely natural to combine different materials – marble, fabrics, wood, ceramic – in a complete design freedom that is not widely understood.”

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Trump Tower in Pune

“In the Trump Tower project, for example, we used travertine, a quite unusual material in that region. The most interesting aspect of a project in such a distant place is the encounter between different cultures. For example, India has a great tradition in marble working, even if it is different from ours. And there are also craftsmen who work wood in an amazing way,” added Nunziati.

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The opportunities for made in Italy in India

The final part of FIMI 2019, dedicated to India, consisted in a round table with the representatives of three Italian companies. Mattia Fiorindo, Director of Communications and Marketing at FIMA Carlo Frattini, Andrea Monti, Sales Director at SEI Laser, and Roberto Zappa, member of the Supervisory Board of the Wittur Group, shared their experiences in the Indian market and offered some advice.

One of the most important suggestions is finding a good local partner. In his introductory speech, Alessandro Biamonti, professor at Politecnico, highlighted how, if we want to work with a different culture, such as the Indian culture, we must be open to dialogue and ready to redefine our point of view.

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Tiki Shack, Gachibowli, Telangana, India, project by Aamir & Hameeda

The three representatives confirmed this opinion, starting from their direct experiences. They all agreed on that it is fundamental to have a relationship of mutual trust with a local partner. And it is equally important to accept the advice of local partners although it deviates from one’s habits. For example, it is possible that an installation needs to be adjusted to the local taste, even it is different from ours, as happened to FIMA Carlo Frattini.

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Mattia Fiorindo

There are many other possible problems in a collaboration with clients with different customs and traditions. However, as Biamonti said, “it is necessary to give up a bit of one’s identity in order to establish a collaboration based on mutual trust.” This may mean many things, not all of which can be negotiated. While nothing can be conceded in terms of work safety, as European standards are high and we cannot move back, some activities can be safely subcontracted to Indian partners.

Asia is not just China. With its current growth rate, India is becoming an extremely interesting market, rich in opportunities for made in Italy. Provided you approach it with the right times and clear ideas. [Roberta Mutti]

Read also the interview with Weichen Zhong, about design in China