(AGI) Hangzhou, May 27 - A new Italian visa centre has opened in Hangzhou. The city is the beating heart of the Chinese economy, fertile ground for Italian businesses and the headquarters of e-commerce giant Alibaba. Hangzhou is also due to host the meeting of the G20 group of finance ministers and central bank governors in September. At the opening of the visa centre, Italy's Ambassador to China Ettore Sequi stressed that Italian entrepreneurs "were focusing more and more on this city and this province" and that, over the last few months, "we have seen an increase in economic and trade relations". Hangzhou is the second and final leg of the business mission organised by the Italian Embassy in China, the Consulate-General in Shanghai, the Italian Trade Agency ICE and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in China. Speaking of Italian investment in China, Mr Sequi mentioned Ferrero, which opened its first Chinese facility in Hangzhou. "There are a lot of people from this province living in Italy and we decided that Hangzhou had to be one of the cities selected for a visa centre. We believe our economic, trade and cultural exchanges are destined to grow, and we are keen to bring a service to Hangzhou that will simplify the visa application and granting process and bolster the relationship between this city and Italy", he continued. The Hangzhou visa centre is one of the 11 new application centres to open in first and second tier cities in China since Apr. 1. Altogether, there are now 15 visa centres in China, as well as the four already up and running at the consular facilities in Beijing, Shanghai, Canton and Chongqing. In 2015, 542,000 visas were issued in China, an almost 100 per cent annual increase. Of a total number of more than 120 million trips abroad, 3.5 million Chinese tourists visited European Union countries last year. (AGI). .