The most exported Italian products to China in 2021


2021 has just come to an end and it is interesting to find out which were the most exported Italian products to China in this past year.

Which product categories have Chinese consumers been most attracted to? For those who want to expand their business towards the Chinese market, what are the most popular Italian products?

China: a market full of opportunities

Despite the pandemic of Covid-19, the economic relations between Italy and China have an increasingly important role, above all thanks to the economic growth of the latter on a global scale.

Indeed, as the Chinese ambassador to Italy, Li Junhua, said on April 26, 2021, in an interview with Tribuna Economica, the results of China-Italy trade cooperation are increasingly encouraging. In 2020, the volume of trade between the two countries exceeded $55.1 billion, a high record.

In 2021, Italian exports to the Land of the Dragon saw the annual sales of a large number of categories double. This is why it is worth analysing which were the most exported Italian products to China.

China is Italy's main trading partner in Asia. Italy has also become the country that has signed the largest number of agreements on the export of agricultural products from China to the EU.

Commercial relations, Italian investments in China and Chinese investments in Italy take on a very important value in the relationship between the two countries.

The most exported Italian products to China in 2021

Over the years, China has increasingly represented a market full of opportunities and good chances for Italy and for the various local companies that have international ambitions, as most Chinese consumers believe that Made in Italy is a symbol of excellence and quality.

Made in Italy: the most exported Italian products to China

With the expression "Made in Italy", starting from the eighties of the last century, the international specialization of the Italian production system began to be indicated in the traditional manufacturing sectors, such as clothing (and goods for person), furniture (and household items), automotive (including mechanics) and agri-food.

Made in Italy products are all those products made in Italy, generally united by a set of elements, which allow them to be recognized internationally and which determine their success.

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Italy as a supplier country for China

Italy is the 20th supplier of China, ranking 3rd among the European countries that export there, after Germany and France and before the United Kingdom and Spain. China, on the other hand, is the 9th destination market for Italian exports.

Opportunities in the Country of the Dragon for Italy are not few and are growing. Chinese people are very attracted to products of Italian origin, especially luxury and high quality products, such as food, fashion, beauty and furniture products (source Findelbarba).

The most exported Italian products to China

In this last year, Italian exports to China have seen a trend growth, registering an increase of 31.5% in the first 9 months on an annual basis.

This showed an improvement compared to the first months of 2019, in which the percentage of Italian exports to the Country of the Dragon was 21.7%.

With this growth, 11.45 billion euros were exported to China in the first 9 months of 2021, compared to 28.08 billion in imports from China.

The most exported Italian products to China in 2021

This has shown that the pandemic has not caused any kind of decline for the most exported Italian products to China and its trend growth has remained constant throughout 2021, exceeding the results obtained in the last 3 years.

Italy owes the trend growth of its exports in 2021 in particular to certain sectors, such as mechanics, textiles and clothing, food products, and means of transport.

In fact, in the product composition of Italian exports in the past year, among the most exported Italian products to China, machinery and equipment rank first with a percentage of 27.8%, equal to 3.565 million euros.

In second place of the most exported Italian products to China are placed textiles, clothing, leather and accessories with 2.507 million euros (19.6%).

These are followed by chemicals and chemicals with 952 million euros (7.4%), means of transport (898 million euros, 7%), pharmaceutical, chemical-medicinal and botanical items (830 million euros, 6.5%) and finally, products of other manufacturing activities with 808 million euros and a percentage of 6.3% of total exports to China.

In trade between Italy and China, exports to Beijing are on the rise, rising to 7.8 billion euros compared to 5.2 in 2020, with a 96% jump in the fashion sector (source Value China).

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Indeed, it is precisely towards this sector that much of the interest of Chinese consumers, who are truly passionate about Made in Italy luxury, is directed. Just in 2021, Italy conquered the first place among the luxury exporting countries to China, surpassing neighboring France.

To determine this success for our Made in Italy is the current search by young Chinese consumers for exclusivity and craftsmanship in the items they wish to purchase, which are among the most exported Italian products to China.

At the same time, the Italian agri-food sector in the first half of 2021 also saw an overall increase of 12% compared to 2020, reaching 24.81 billion euros. At the table, the main customers of the Italian flag, according to Coldiretti, there would be precisely China, which sees a growth of 39%.

The success of Made in Italy derives from the presence of an agriculture that has become the greenest in Europe, with the largest number of DOP / IGP / STC specialties. This also explains why the most exported Italian products to China are from the agri-food sector.

Comparing exports in this sector from Italy to China in 2021 with 2020 and 2019, the 5 product categories that accelerated were first and foremost that of Processed meat and meat products, dairy products -baked and starchy products, drinks.

For wine, Italy, on the other hand, was positioned in 3rd place for imports, after France and Chile.

The most exported Italian products to China in 2021

How to sell made in Italy products in China?

China is a country full of opportunities for the trade of Italian products, especially for the most exported Italian products. However, there are some factors to consider before embarking on any type of business move, whether it is relying on an agent or a marketplace.

Before starting, it is best to carry out a market survey, to understand the potential of the products to be sold in China, by defining a pricing and marketing strategy. Later, the way to sell the products will be decided, whether to start in B2B or B2C, online or offline.

If the articles are among the most exported Italian products, it will certainly be easier to find information and have a history of data and strategies from which to draw inspiration.

Tools like Noziroh Hub are essential for selling products in China and managing export processes successfully. The risks of failure are around the corner and only through in-depth market research is it possible to verify the feasibility of a project and avoid unexpected events.

With Noziroh Hub it is possible to manage all stages of marketing in China by counting on a single reference: market research, B2B and B2C sales, management of stores in local e-commerce platforms, storage of goods, order fulfillment, management of social profiles, packaging and private labels.

Author: Ilaria Golino

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