The Australia China Business Council led a delegation of 15 corporate executives from across industry sectors and local government officials on a six-day visit to China starting from 23-28 April 2023.
Taking in four cities – Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Tianjin and Beijing -the delegation visit was the first Australian industry-wide delegation to visit since China’s post-pandemic reopening.
It was designed to send a clear signal to China’s business community that Australian business is looking to work together on the many new trade and investment opportunities emerging from China’s new-‘high-quality growth’ agenda, and to provide opportunities to support new business networks and collaborations across industry sectors, as well as helping to build understanding of the key role of China’s special economic and green economy development zones.
Delegates joined from a variety of industries and sectors and included Rio Tinto, Fortescue, Cochlear, Telstra, HSBC, King & Wood Mallesons and the City of Melbourne. Networking dinners and roundtables organised by AustChams in key cities allowed other Australian executives based on the ground in Beijing, Shenzhen and Hong Kong (as well as some travelling from Shanghai) to join in some of the site visits and briefings.
The delegation was supported by ACBC’s delegation partner HSBC Australia hosting a major business event, providing speakers and generally supporting via access to its local networks. King & Wood Mallesons sponsored the opening welcome and briefing at M+ Museum and TusStar provided access to new networks and contacts throughout.
Prior to departure, delegates had the benefit of a briefing by senior representatives of the government (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Austrade) and during the delegation had access to private briefings from the Embassy in Beijing and Consulates in the Greater Bay Area (Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Hong Kong).
The program was curated by the Chair of ACBC’s Net Zero Working Group, Anthony Coles. It commenced in Hong Kong and, in addition to HSBC’s business event, including a high-level briefing by Kong’s Financial Secretary Paul Chan and other government, finance, and trade officials, and a site visit to the Hong Kong Science & Technology Park. In Shenzhen, companies heard from Guangdong Government leaders and site visits about opportunities from China’s Greater Bay Area, encompassing, Hong Kong and nine cities of Guangdong and Macao.
In Tianjin, delegates visited the Tianjin Economic Development Area, where Deputy Lord Mayor of Melbourne Nicholas Reece reaffirmed the important role of the Melbourne-Tianjin sister city relationship in supporting business links.
In Beijing, the focus was a session involving a discussion about China’s green economy developments with experts from China and internationally. The final day in Beijing included a joint dinner hosted by the Global Foundation with Dr Jin Liqun, the President of the Asian Infrastructure Bank, and a round table co-hosted by the Global Foundation and the China Centre for Globalisation.
While the delegation’s mission was largely a fact-finding mission, we are pleased to note several delegates commenced important new commercial discussions which we expect will lead to practical outcomes. Further industry-specific delegations are now planned.