The Abacus

Happy Lunar New Year! whats ahead in the Year of the Dog


Happy Lunar New Year to all ACBC members and friends!  As the Year of the Rooster draws to a close and we welcome the Year of the Dog, Australia will also welcome between 140,000 and 250,000 Chinese visitors during the Chinese New Year Festival who will choose to celebrate their spring festival on our shores. And according to ACBC's recent Chinese Tourism Report 3.3 million Chinese tourists will visit Australia in 2026.

As Australia’s economic relationship with China continues to evolve from the predominantly ‘rocks and crops’-type trading relationship of the past, to a greater emphasis on services such as tourism and education, cultural interchange becomes even more important.  Chinese New Year is a perfect time to strengthen the person-to-person bonds that will stand us in good stead for the next phase of the Australia-China relationship.

As dragons wind their way through the streets on February 16, Australian businesses, local governments, NGOs and others are finding innovative ways to mark the new year.  Sydney holds one of the largest Chinese New Year festivals outside Asia.  The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra has been holding an annual Chinese New Year concert since 2013—this year music by Bao Yuankai and Lang Liqing is on the menu, along with Schumann’s Spring Symphony.  The Australian Ballet will tour China later this year.

Sport is another factor in the cultural relationship.  The Year of the Dog will see the second AFL game played in China for premiership points, after the success of the Port Power-Gold Coast Suns clash in 2017.  And this year the Australia China Business Council will be releasing a report on the commercial opportunities surrounding sports diplomacy—so stay tuned.

Australian businesses should recognise the marketing opportunity presented by China’s Spring Festival.  Family reunions and feasting, travel and the giving of gifts to children and younger people mark the event.  Last month AustCham Shanghai and the Meat and Livestock Association of Australia partnered with Alibaba to hold an Australia Day barbeque in China to promote Australian meat products in the lead up to Chinese New Year.  400,000 Chinese viewers watched the event on live stream.

In the Chinese zodiac, the dog is a symbol of loyalty and honesty. People born in the Year of the Dog possess the best traits of human nature. They are honest, friendly, faithful, loyal, smart, straightforward and have a strong sense of responsibility - salient lessons for managing the bilateral relationship.

May all ACBC members and supporters enjoy a prosperous year in 2018!


Helen Sawczak

National CEO

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