Keywords: internationalization, China, Italian companies, facilitating factors, perceiving difficulties.
The present paper explores the internationalization process of Italian companies in the Chinese market, focusing on the analysis of facilitating factors and perceived difficulties. In order to make a comparison, both companies operating and willing to enter the Chinese market have been analyzed. The study was based on the development and administration of a self-administered questionnaire. The analysis, exploratory in nature, was carried out by analyzing a sample of 238 companies operating or willing to enter the Chinese market. The findings suggest that internal facilitating factors (such as the entrepreneurial vision, brand and company know how) are more important than external ones; furthermore Italian companies selling in China have to deal with some complex difficulties which are partly differently perceived by those firms not yet operating in the market. The findings provide marketing executives useful insights in developingentry and distribution strategies for Italian products in the Chinese market.