SYDNEY, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) — An Australian think tank report revealed that despite the soured bilateral relationship, the Chinese market is still attractive for Australian businesses and the opportunities in China haven’t disappeared.
The report, published on Tuesday by the Australia-China Relations Institute (ACRI) of University of Technologies Sydney, was based on a broad interview with Australian businesses leaders in a variety of industries.
The report documents that Australian executives are still keen on doing business with China and fully intend to continue to do so. This chimes with data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing that more Australian businesses are engaging with China than ever before and the annual value of total two-way trade continues to bounce off records highs, 267 billion Australian dollars (188 billion U.S. dollars) at the latest count.
Report author and Adjunct Industry Fellow of ACRI Glenda Korporaal told Xinhua that there are several factors behind Australian businesses’ continued interest in the Chinese market.
“China is a very big market, the second-largest economy, one of the fastest-growing in our region. Despite the language and cultural differences, there is somehow an underlying strength in the people-to-people relationship. There’s also a fundamental complementarity between the Australian and the Chinese economy.”
“So that fundamental is still there. Obviously, you have to overlay the politics over it. But those factors are still there,” she said.
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics listed out by the report show that the number of Australian exporters to China grew from 6,231 in 2014-15 to 8,184 in 2018-19 and the number continues to grow.
Kristy Carr, Chief Executive Officer of Bubs Australia Limited, lived in China and engaged with the Chinese market for years. She told the webinar held by ACRI on Tuesday that “Chinese businesses and Chinese people were just wonderful to do business with.”
“They’re hard workers, they move at a pace like no one I’ve ever come across… If you’re looking to build a high growth business, there’s no other market like China to be able to, to build that kind of growth,” Carr said.
Besides the basic economic complementarities, the report also found China is not only a market but also a key supplier as well as a collaborator on innovation. Engaging with China also helps with diversifying to new markets.
“The Chinese consumer and the e-commerce platforms they make purchases on were identified as the most sophisticated in the world. The speed of change in the China market is unparalleled and hard for many in Australia to fully appreciate. This meant lessons gained from the China market could be deployed elsewhere to raise the chances of success,” read the report.
As for challenges and risks in the future, especially given the soured bilateral relationship, changing geopolitical situation, as well as supply chain disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the report found recognizing and managing risk is part of what businesses do naturally, and dealing with uncertainty goes with the territory and breeds resilience.
Carr said the Chinese market has always been a very challenging and dynamic market to do business with, but that’s “part of the energy and part of the fun.”
“I think every time the barriers to entry get a little bit harder, I just look at it and so I’ve lost another tail of competitors behind me.”
Korporaal said the Australians need to be able to navigate complexity.
“There are multiple strands of any relationship… We need to be able to have a multi-stranded relationship with China. We need to be able to navigate complexity.”
“We should be prepared that it is going to have many strands including difficult politics, but the opportunities are also big. So can we navigate complexity will be the key to Australia’s future,” Korporaal said. (Web editor: Shi Xi, Liang Jun)