What keeps the Italian economy going, even during these uncertain and often puzzling times? Partly its role within the complex balance of European and Western markets. When we talk about the Italian economy, for instance, it would be a mistake to assume that we are referring exclusively to Italian companies. According to a recent research, there are over 14K multinational companies currently operating in Italy and generating a staggering € 500 Bn, that are partly reinvested in the national economy and in R&D.
14k multinational companies are investing in Italy
Italy’s special partners
With the sole exception of the United States – which can boast the highest number of companies operating in Italy – there is a distinctly European flavour to the international presence in the Country. Germany and France are Italy’s preferred economic partners. A fourth – if somewhat unexpected – top partner is Japan. On the whole, with the two aforementioned exceptions, over 60% of the multinational firms operating in Italy originate from European countries. The presence of thousands of multinational companies on Italian territory results in a significant contribution to the Country’s level of employment. Of the 1.3 million Italians employed by multinational companies, over 80% works for the ten largest firms, with American companies alone accounting for nearly 300.000 jobs. The largest multinational company in Italy in terms of hired workforce, however, is the French retailer Auchan, which employs over 12.000 people in its stores and supermarkets.
Internationalisation, innovation and new horizons
A 2017 study has proved that companies that have a multinational configuration tend to perform significantly better and generate much higher profits than those owned and located in one Country. This is due partly to their average size and partly to their ability to thrive in a competitive market. While many are still on the fence about Italy’s appeal to international investors, several factors have contributed to its climbing four positions in the World Bank’s “Doing Business” report. Besides the steps that have deliberately been taken to encourage investments (such as lowering the cost of energy and simplifying certain bureaucratic procedures), there are aspects of the Italian economy that remain unfailingly appealing to multinational companies. Italy is still the world’s seventh largest economy, and its workforce can boast unparalleled skills in specific industries. Italy’s manufacturing tradition keeps attracting international investors and companies (with Germany claiming a privileged position in this respect), and the Italian fashion and design industry remains a worldwide beacon of style.
Are you planning to expand your business to Italy?
When approaching the Italian market, it is essential to understand its inner dynamics, its delicate balance and its specific needs. What does this mean for multinational companies operating in Italy, such as Vodafone and Sky? It means that their offer must be tailored to specific targets that might have significantly different characteristics to their international equivalents. And after carefully tailoring a product to the target’s needs, it is essential to market it in a way that is socially and geographically conscious and sensitive.