The "Italian Design Year" to present the best of Italian design in China was on Thursday launched in Milan during the Milan Furniture Fair running from April 8 to 13 in the Italian design capital. During the Italian Design Year that will also open in Beijing in October, Beijing Design Week and furniture retailer Easy Home Group will promote initiatives based on four key aspects of the "Italian way of life," namely art, food, living and travel. "The Italian Design Year initiative was also launched in view of the Milan Expo 2015 and will be a key event to boost knowledge and collaboration between Italian and Chinese furniture companies," Wang Linpeng, general manager of furniture retailer Easy Home Group, told Xinhua. "The program will enable Chinese consumers to appreciate Italian design and quality that are increasingly permeating daily life of Chinese families," he said. Wang made the announcement during the "China Home B2B" meeting in Milan on Wednesday involving the largest delegation of Chinese distributors of Italy products. Wang noted that fast-developing China offered huge opportunities for Italian furniture design companies, which however risk facing many difficulties if they are not helped explore the Chinese market. "For this reason, mutual knowledge has become more than ever fundamental for driving out skepticism and building mutual respect," he added. "For example, are Italian professionals aware that creativity was key to China's industrial upgrading and that China was boosting protection of intellectual property rights?" Margherita Barberis, general director of Milan-based Italy China Foundation, said China Home B2B and Italian Design Year represented unique platforms of fruitful dialogue between the two countries. "It was a pleasure to see how Italy's best things are appreciated in China," she said, calling on Italian companies to increase their presence in China. "Italy is looking forward to taking all the opportunities offered by the Chinese market," she added.