Now is the time to convert the Asian Century White Paper aspirations into action plans, writes AustCham Beijing Chairman David Olsson.
The Asian Century White Paper says: “The growth of Asia replaces the tyranny of distance with the power of proximity.”
There is no doubt that physical proximity has been a major factor in the growth of our commodities trade but to unleash the power of proximity we need to think creatively and to engage in different conversations.
At a meeting convened late last year, AustCham members met up with Minister Simon Crean for a day to workshop ideas about how AustCham can convert the White Paper aspirations into concrete steps and a clear action plan.
The discussions were robust and wide-ranging, reflecting our broad membership. A report prepared with the assistance of China Policy will soon be released but one thing was clear – there is a real energy amongst the Australian business community to intensify and diversify our engagement with China.
*Pictured: Australian Ambassador to China Ms Frances Adamson with senior Chinese government officials at the 2012 AustCham Collaboration Dinner.
Over the coming months, AustCham in Beijing will be announcing and rolling out a series of watershed initiatives which are designed to:
– broaden and deepen Australia – China relationships
– help Australian enterprises to operate and connect to growing markets
– develop skills and capacity amongst Australian businesses
And we are doing this in a new and fresh way.
Our network across the Mainland is unparalleled. New AustCham Greater China chapters in West and South China provide linkages to the fastest growing regions in China. AGC now has nearly 1000 members and is growing fast.
We are collaborating and building on the synergies that exist with other organisations like the Australia China Business Council, the Australia China Alumni Association and the Australia China Youth Association and the Global Mining Association of China. Earlier this year we partnered up with Austrade to launch the first-ever China Business Perception Survey – a benchmark for future work.
Working together and collaborating allows us to undertake projects on a scale that has previously been beyond our capacity and to explore innovative ways of thinking differently.
Our relationships with Chinese departments and Chinese enterprises are also being nurtured. Our regular meetings with MOFCOM and strategic partnership with China Railways is helping to build two-way bridges, and provide opportunities for new partnerships and business ventures with Australian companies.
Long-time AustCham members will have noticed big changes over the last few years in the chamber’s focus.
We’ve listened to what members want, and sought to make membership a valuable investment. Our business journal, INSIGHT, provides new thought provoking perspectives on key issues, we are producing White Papers and are seeking to drive discussion forums to bring about policy changes.
Many young professionals, mid-career professionals and members of the Australian business community feel ill prepared for the Chinese business world. Stay tuned for some exciting new China business literacy programs in the months ahead.
In March we welcomed the third intake of AustCham Scholars who will be combining on-going language training with work experience with Australian companies in Beijing and Shanghai. This program has been very successful and we are now looking to use it as a platform for a much bigger program in the years ahead. We salute those companies that have the vision to support the 2013 program – Westpac, Hastings Funds Management, Riverstone Advisory, BlueScope Steel, Runge Pincock Minarco, Cochlear and China Policy.
Within the Secretariat, we are delighted to welcome on board our new chief executive officer, Ross Bundey. I
encourage members to talk to your Directors, Ross and the Beijing Secretariat team about ways in which we can support your business in China. ■
For the latest AustCham Beijing news and to find out more about the initiatives mentioned here, visit: www.austcham.org