A mature market with a wider base of target consumers, in addition to a growing middle class that loves the Italian lifestyle and its high-end quality products. This is the Russia portrayed in the data presented at the third edition of the Invest in the New Russia Forum, organized at Bocconi University in Milan.
According to analysts, poverty rates have hit their lowest levels since the 1990s, with unemployment at 6%. Economic wellbeing is more widespread than believed. The middle class, which after the fall of the Berlin Wall accounted for just 4% of the population, is no 20%. To this can be added the Russian passion for all things Made in Italy. The food and beverage industry was highlighted at the Bocconi meeting as one of the sectors that already figures among the preferences of local consumers.
Russia holds enormous opportunities. It is finalizing its entrance into the WTO, with foreseeable reductions in customs duties and non-tariff trade barriers, and thanks to the single customs area extending from Belarus to Kazakhstan, it is a hub for large Asian markets reaching the Far East. A few examples illustrate the point: trade between Russia and China is worth over 60 billion euros, and that with South Korea has grown fivefold over the last three years.