AustCham Beijing: Looking to the Future
As the economic, cultural and social ties between Australia and China continue their increasing and positive progress forward, it may now be timely to consider what more can be done to enhance and strengthen those relationships, writes AustCham Beijing Chief Executive Officer, Ross Bundey.
The very successful visit to China last April by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, senior Ministers and some of Australia’s leading business leaders delivered a clear message that our policy makers and business community are aligned in creating stronger bi-lateral links.
The results of that visit have already proven to be most beneficial to Australian business interests and we believe will continue to be so, particularly as a result of the agreement on the holding of formal annual government to government meetings. Australia being one of only five countries to receive this privileged access.
The convertibility of the RMB was another key move forward and AustCham was involved in the dialogue leading up to and following this announcement.
As a result of these developments we will continue to see an expanding breadth of commercial activity with Australian businesses across sectors and regions in both countries.
According to statistics from the Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce, there are conservatively estimated at the end of May 2013 to be over 220 Australian registered businesses (i.e. businesses with more than 50 percent Australian ownership) in Beijing alone.
In light of the significant developments that have occurred this year and given the large levels of investment already made by Australian businesses in China, it might be timely to re-look at the two concepts that we have written about on several past occasions.
These concepts namely, ‘co-operation’ and ‘collaboration’, have proven to be vital and necessary drivers of the relationship development between Australia and China.
However it may now be timely to add an additional concept of ‘contribution’ and to look at these concepts as a trio.
China’s current five year plan and recent pronouncements include many worthy projects and iniatives, particularly in the areas of energy, infrastructure, water efficiency and food integrity.
Australian business is extremely well placed, not only to co-operate and collaborate with businesses in both China and Australia, but is also able to provide an enormously valuable contribution to the progression of these projects and plans.
Australia’s experiences, knowledge and expertise in just these four areas of energy, infrastructure, water efficiency and food integrity (let alone many other areas such as financial and professional services, education services, health services and tourism) can provide a deep and meaningful contribution to the development of China’s aims and to the increased strengthening of the relationship and friendship between Australia and China both in China and in Australia.
Through collaboration, co-operation and contribution, there will be many opportunities for Australian businesses to share ideas for innovative new products and services that will undoubtedly be of great value to Chinese clients and customers.
AustCham Beijing is uniquely placed to work with its members, government and other partners to provide information, networks and understanding of the constantly changing market so as to enable Australian businesses to strongly contribute to the growth of their own operations and to the development of the China market for Australian business interests.
The first half of 2013 has been a full one for AustCham Beijing.
The major event, as mentioned, was the visit to Beijing by the then Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and Ministers Carr, Emerson and Shorten. This was the largest ministerial delegation ever sent by Australia to China and we were delighted to be part of this. It was also fantastic to be joined at this event by many representatives from AustCham Chengdu, AustCham Hong Kong and AustCham Shanghai.
The big social event of the year was the AustCham Mad Hatter’s Ball. With fantastic decorations, outfits, food and music this must surely be the premier social event in Beijing! The AustCham team has already begun planning an even bigger and better Ball for 2014. Watch this space!
We have also re-invigorated our Educational Services Industry Working Group which will be releasing a White Paper later this year. The Financial Services Industry Working Group will also continue its very active role.
As always we continue to look for new and innovative ways to support and enhance the interests of our Members. Through the advancement of AustCham Greater China and continuing strengthening of our Advocacy & Government Relations platform we are confident of achieving this goal. ■
AustCham Beijing announces its new Board of Directors for 2013-2014
Ross Bundey – Chief Executive Officer
Tracy Colgan – Chair
Peter Grogan – Vice Chair
Mina Guli – Deputy Chair
Brendan Mason – Treasurer