MILAN — The Italian government is taking its commitment to support Made in Italy one step further.

The country’s trade agency ICE has inked a partnership with the Alibaba Group to create a virtual hub promoting a selection of Italian brands on the company’s Tmall marketplace. Named HelloITA and launched on Thursday, the dedicated platform showcases labels debuting in the Chinese market as well as names already present on Tmall and its cross-border Tmall Global sibling marketplace, for a total of 80 brands, half of which are small and medium-sized companies.

Examples from the fashion, beauty, design and food industries include Moschino, Missoni, Intimissimi, Calzedonia, Kiko, Diego Dalla Palma, Davines, Barilla, Illy and Lavazza, among others.

The State investment will amount to 2.5 million euros in the next 12 to 16 months, channeled into communication, banners, online and off-line activities that will create visibility and generate traffic.

“The partnership with Alibaba fits with our omnichannel approach,” said ICE’s president Michele Scannavini, who considers HelloITA “the occasion for Italian companies and small and-medium-sized firms to profit from the traffic generated by [a cross plan], which will also fill the knowledge gap about Italy and its excellences.”

Accessible to more than 570 million active consumers of the Alibaba’s platforms, HelloITA will also showcase special content with educational purposes about Made in Italy.

As reported, ICE was already in negotiations with Alibaba last year, when the trade agency introduced the partnership with Yoox for the launch of the dedicated Italian Hidden Gems platform on the e-tailer. This helped develop the online business of 100 small and medium-sized Italian brands in the U.S. and China.

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