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Our case study of Goldwind Australia illustrates how a first time Chinese investor has managed to integrate in the local Australian job market and benefit from the pool of talent available. It shows that employing local staff has become a major localisation strategy for Chinese firms that strive for successful investment in Australia.

Goldwind Australia Pty Ltd set up office in Sydney in 2009 and entered the Australian renewable energy market with its initial Mortons Lane wind turbine project in Victoria and the much larger Gullen Range project in New South Wales. From 2013, the Gullen Range Wind Farm near Goulburn with its 73 state-of-the-art wind turbines is supplying enough electricity for around 63,000 households. Gullen Range Wind Farm hosts the first 2.5MW gearless Permanent Magnet Direct Drive (PMDD) wind turbines in Australia.

Goldwind operates across the whole value chain of wind energy solutions from installing wind turbines to selling and operating wind farms with business partners including local wind project developers, international buyers of completed projects and Australian and Chinese banks to provide long-term finance. In bringing technical expertise, capital and institutional experience to the Australian wind farm market, Goldwind operates like other globalising Chinese investors who rely on global technology, local business partners and local government and community support.

As Goldwind is a public listed company with some state-owned ownership, all new investments have to be approved by FIRB. This is a routine process and has not impeded progress.

Goldwind prides itself on being a model for the integration of Chinese firms in Australia through its employment and governance practices and most recently through path-breaking syndicated project finance.

Local Employment

Goldwind employs 40 people in Australia, all of who are locally hired. Some of the seven staff members in Accounting and Finance speak Mandarin. This is one of the demographic advantages of the Australian labour market from which Goldwind is benefitting, as bilingual staff members find it easier to communicate with headquarters in China.

Engineers and technical staff working at the wind farm sites are local people to help local employment along with some technical specialists from China. The Gullen Range project employed 115 people during construction, with 70 per cent recruited from the local community. Gullen Range now employs nine maintenance staff; Mortons Lane, for which Goldwind has a 15 year maintenance contract, employs two local staff, and the Melbourne project employs five local people.