China Forum Showcases Opportunities for WA Business
Small and medium enterprises, government officials and business influencers from across the nation gathered at the inaugural China Business Forum on 14 May at Crown Perth. The half day event featured keynote speakers, panel discussions and success stories from businesses reaping the rewards of trading in China.
The Hon Paul Papalia CSC MLA, Minister for Tourism; Racing and Gaming; Small Business; Defence Issues; Citizenship and Multicultural Interests officially launched the Forum, highlighting the government’s commitment to pave the way for trade with China over the coming years, underpinned by the soon to be released Asian Engagement Strategy, following consultation late last year.
Success stories from Vanya Cullen, Managing Director and Chief Winemaker of Cullen Wines, as well as James Williamson, Managing Director of Latitude 28 Produce also presented on the day, providing insight into their experience of doing business in China, and providing advice for businesses contemplating the same.
Lincoln Wong, General Manager – Business Development, Sales and Marketing for International Services at Australia Post delivered the keynote speech of the day ‘The Silk Road and Beyond’, focusing on the opportunities which exist for Australian businesses to engage with China through global cross border e-commerce, providing an overview of the macro indicators of China’s economy and associated e-commerce and consumer trends.
Following Mr Wong’s presentation, a panel discussion focusing on ‘The China Opportunity for Western Australia’ was moderated by Perth USAsia Centre’s CEO Professor Gordon Flake, and featured Rebecca Brown, Director-General, Department of Jobs, Tourism and Science and Innovation, Bonnie Lin, CEO, B2 Rainmakers, Adam Handley, President, Australia China Business Council of Western Australia and Khoon Tan, President of the Western Australian Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The panel outlined commercial opportunities for WA businesses engaging China, in the context of both China’s growth trajectory and recent developments in the broader Australia-China economic relationship.
The panel argued WA needed a new plan to engage China, focused on building essential business and political relationships, driving greater levels of connectivity and knowledge; targeting an uplift in service-based trade. The Director-General said the WA Government was working hard to secure more direct flights between WA and China, and on a marketing side, a commitment to rebrand WA as a state with value-propositions beyond mining was essential to ensure broad investment and trade opportunities are identified and realised. Both the WA Government and the business chambers said their organisations could provide assistance.
The second panel was moderated by Perth USAsia’s Head of Programs and featured Mr Andrew Win-Min Lee, Senior International Facilitator of Asialink Business, Jean Dong, CEO of Australia-China Belt and Road Initiative and Bing Liu, General Manager, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, WA and NT.
The Forum culminated with concluding remarks from The Hon Peter Tinley AM MLA, Western Australia’s first Minister for Asian Engagement.