Ruian, a major manufacturing hub for leather shoes and auto parts in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, is bringing in skilled engineers from Italy to help drive its products into the world market.
The city created a China-Italy industrial park in September 2018 that is recognized as the nation's pioneer zone for joint talent development by the two countries.
So far, 22 top Italian engineers have come to Wenzhou - for example, Alessandro Boldoni, an expert in automobile chassis and braking systems, who was given the Chinese Government Friendship Award in 2017.
Sun Zhifeng, an officer from the Ruian bureau of human resources and social security, said Wenzhou and Turin, Italy, were nominated as experimental zones for the countries' talent exchange when the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs and the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, Labour and Social Policies mentioned talent development back in May 2017.
"Ruian shares similarities with Italy in some industries - the automobile industry, for example. The northern Italian city of Turin is a major global automotive center, and automobile production is also a pillar industry in Ruian," he said, adding that Ruian excels in producing talent.
"Wenzhou is a well-known hometown for overseas Chinese. About 160,000 of these overseas Chinese are from Ruian, and 61 percent of them have settled in Italy," he said.
Sun said that bilateral cooperation in auto parts production, the fashion industry and architecture is progressing smoothly in Ruian, thanks to the government's support.
In May, Wenzhou issued a preferential policy to lure high-level talent, including foreign experts.
Under the policy, the government will give a company that hires a foreign engineer 100,000 yuan ($15,000) or 50,000 yuan for a foreign think tank. Ruian released a preferential policy focused on luring talent in February.
Lin Banghu, director of the Ruian human resources and social security bureau, said at a conference that the city will step up bilateral exchanges. Also, more convenient processes will be used to introduce talent, making the effort more sustainable, Lin said.
According to Lin, companies are encouraged to launch research and development centers and transform their research results into practical products. Talent development efforts will also include cooperation this year with Italian colleges such as the Istituto Europeo di Design and Politecnico di Torino.
Lin said that Ruian plans to expand bilateral exchanges to areas of culture, wine tasting and tourism in the near future.