The Global Impact of ‘Made in Italy’
Edited by Giuseppe Bertoli and Riccardo Resciniti
Chapter 4: Italian country image: the impact on business models and relations in Chinese business-to-business markets
Italy is renowned around the world for its design, fashion, Mediterranean cuisine and other Made in Italy products. These products are often associated with known and famous brands, especially in the luxury sector, but many less well-known Italian firms operating in more technical industries, such as in the mechanical or electronic sectors, have a major presence in international markets. These traditional Made in Italy sectors as well as the specialized product sectors create the so-called ‘4Fs’ of Italian excellence (Fortis 2005). The first group together traditional consumer goods linked to the person and the home. Specialized product sectors include the automation–mechanical–rubber–plastics sector. Despite offering excellent quality products in these sectors, Italy has a lower perceived image than other countries such as Germany. Country of origin (COO) literature is mainly focused on consumer sectors. The abundance of literature on the subject in the industrial sector is lower, and among theorists two main research streams can be identified. Some believe that COO has the same importance in the consumer market, while others assert that industrial customers operating in a more informed way are less likely to be influenced by it.
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