Milan (Italy) and Shanghai

Source : International Affairs Office City of Milan


Character, start and duration of the partnership

The partnership between Milan and Shanghai began 30 years ago, on the 3rd of July 1979, when the cities discovered common interests and expressed the intention of starting a long term collaboration. After a summit meeting, a Declaration of Intent was signed and the partnership agreement commenced.

Main topics addressed and activities undertaken under the partnership

Both being big metropolises which play strategic roles in their respective countries, mutual interest topics like financial, industrial and commercial issues, were necessarily addressed. Since then, the organization of an economic forum named “The economy engines – Shanghai and Milan : how to improve the partnership” and a series of “business to business” events, are some examples that demonstrate how the two city administrations have tried to facilitate the exchange of ideas and experiences.

Yet, economics is not the only topic addressed and a rich agenda of cultural events and artists exchange has also been established through the organization of concerts, art exhibitions, theatrical program and gastronomy of excellence.

The signing of the agreement is between both cities is regularly celebrated. For the 25th anniversary, besides concerts and photographic exhibitions, the municipality donated to one of the public library, 600 books in Italian, Chinese and English within the frame called “The Shanghai window”.

Key achievements within the partnership

The Peoples Republic of China was the first country to formalize its participation at the Milan Expo 2015 with an agreement signed in December 2008 between Expo 2015 S.p.a., the CCPIT (China Council for the Promotion of International Trade) and ICE (National Institute for Foreign Trade).

Similarly in 2009, the City of Milan signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the General Commissioner of the Government for World Expo Shanghai 2010 which states that the City of Milan will join the Italian Pavilion at Expo 2010 Shanghai through the organization of a week of events, exhibitions and conferences with « Better City, Better Life “as central China Expo theme. « Milan Creative » is the title of the week in Shanghai when the city of Milan, from the 16th to the 23rd of June, will develop the theme of creativity as energy innovation.

Future expectations and expected development of the partnership

The partnership has worked well for both cities since its inception and it is expected to continual this beneficial partnership beyond Shanghai Expo 2010 towards Milan Expo 2015. Regular missions by the mayor of Milan to Shanghai have played a significant role in this respect.

Key obstacles and weaknesses in the partnership and consequent needs and wishes for support to improve the partnership

The geographical distance between the cities is the most significant factor in slowing down the communication between the cities. Nonetheless, the collaboration is now running with success and without significant delays.


This case study belongs to the file « Europe - China Exchange Platform Survey »

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