CIIE fair helps Italy's Pirelli build on commercial ties with China

Italian tire manufacturer Pirelli has been operating in China since 2005,but a top official from the company says it still looks for ways to expand its market share in the country.

Italian tire manufacturer Pirelli has been operating in China since 2005, but a top official from the company says it continues to look for ways to expand and grow its market share in the country.

Part of that strategy involves the China International Import Expo (CIIE), the international trade fair that wrapped up its latest edition on Wednesday in Shanghai.

This year was the second time Pirelli had participated in CIIE, with the first in 2018. According to Giuliano Menassi, Pirelli's China-based country manager and senior vice-president for the Asia-Pacific region, the event was fruitful.

"We had a beautiful booth that focused on sustainability and new technologies like those used for self-driving cars and electric vehicles," Menassi told Xinhua. "We signed a series of new contracts and made new contacts that will help us become better known. For us, it was an important success."

Menassi said the company had also distributed its famed Pirelli calendars at CIIE. The calendars, which regularly feature the work of famous photographers, have been a mainstay of the company since the 1960s.

Next year will mark the 150th anniversary of the creation of the Milan-based Pirelli company. In recent years, China has played an oversized role in its development.

Pirelli first set up operations in China in 2005 with a tire production facility in Shandong province, and in 2015 the China National Chemical Corporation, best known as ChemChina, became Pirelli's largest shareholder.

Menassi said China is "one of Pirelli's main markets," and the company's most important market for tires for electric vehicles.

The company also makes tires for Formula 1 and Rally race cars, motorbikes, sports cars, and racing bicycles, as well as specialized vehicle tires for cold weather, snow, off-road, and sports utility vehicles. The company uses technologies developed for extreme vehicles, and applies them across the company's product line.

Menassi, 58, who has been based in China for the last four years, has worked for Pirelli since 1986. Although he has worked for the company in Belgium, France, Mexico, Argentina, Romania, and Venezuela, it is the Chinese market that helps prepare the company for the more than 160 other countries where it has commercial operations, Menassi said.

"China is a cutting-edge market and so many of the technological challenges we first face in China help us when we must confront similar challenges in other markets," he said.

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