A Record number of Italian companies are preparing to showcase their products at the third China International Import Expo (CIIE) which will be held in East China’s Shanghai from November 5 to 10.

This year, 76 Italian Companies will take part in the CIIE, that’s twice as many as last year. Italian business owners say there’s growing demand for the “Made in Italy” brand globally, and they’re looking to realize their potential in China.

Stella Milano is about to celebrate 70 years in the jewelry business. It’s a family company that prides itself on pieces inspired by the majestic Milan cathedral.

“Human hands and the craftsmanship is still the most part of our production. Here you will see that every jewel is in-house made,” said Dimitri Stella, the CEO of Stella Milano.

As one of many Italian companies set to expand in China, the company is preparing for their third visit to the CIIE. “For Stella Milano I believe it could raise let’s say two digits year by year because it is a fast-growing market,” said Stella.

The expo attracts companies big and small from across the spectrum.

Another family-owned business attending this year is Only Juices, the company exports 100 different products from juices, baby food and candied fruit around the world, and China is hopefully the next big destination.

“The Chinese market is a huge market, the Italian products are and are seen always as being the very top quality, very high-level, high-end products, and I believe the Chinese people they are seeking for these kinds of products,” said Saba Dell’oca, CEO of Only Juices.

As Italy continues to navigate the economic challenges of COVID-19, an increasing number of businesses are shifting online to expand in the Chinese market. For more traditional Italian companies, e-commerce is key to survival.

“They are generally family operated, so either the company adapt to this new way of living, of way of doing businesses, or otherwise they are going to be shut down,” said Dell’oca.

Last year, Italy was the first G7 Country to sign up to China’s Belt & Road initiative, paving the way for more investment between the two countries. Despite some EU reservations, Italy believes it’s a crucial step forward.

“It had a positive effect. Certainly COVID-19 has slowed the development of the project but I believe it will resume shortly because China has already emerged from this crisis situation,” said Mario Boselli, president of the Italy-China Foundation.