Spotlight on China: Business Insights (Part 1)

During our Industry Panel Q&A event on September 8th, we asked business leaders for their insights on the challenges and opportunities of operating businesses across the Australia/China business landscape. Panel chair, Jill Lei from University of Melbourne shares her key takeaways from the event.

  • Jill Lei

    The University of Melbourne

The Australia-China relationship is a topic of great interest to both Australian and Chinese business communities. I know that there are many mutual benefits to establish a strategic partnership between the two economies, and that this partnership has become increasingly important.

But what I did not know was the extensiveness of this partnership and how quickly it has been developed in the last few years. In addition to the more traditional sectors such as real estate, mining, and manufacturing, companies in both countries have tapped into many new sectors in their investment across the Australia and China business landscape.

Panel in session
Jill Lei introduces the panel: Zheng Wang (CITIC Bank), Peter Liddell (KPMG) & Matthew Schofield (ShineWing)

These new sectors such as financial services, health and aged care, tourism, agriculture, and infrastructure reflect the market demands in the two countries as a result of the economic transformations and society changes.

The discussion on the various challenges that companies have faced in the process of establishing their presence in Australia or China was also very informative. Jill Lei, University of Melbourne

I realize that it is vitally important for both countries to recognize each other’s differences while respecting each other’s perspectives, in order to maintain and further strengthen Australia-China business relations.

Student questions:

As part of the Spotlight on China program we invited alumni and current students to contribute to the ideas covered in the Q&A event.

Our guest contributors each had questions about living and working in China before starting their careers. Here's what they discovered:

  • Mali Zou, MM (Marketing) 2014, Shanghai

    I didn’t know the right channels to connect with local graduate programs. They often facilitate interviews and seminars in China.

  • Nick Yan, MIB (2004), Shanghai

    I didn’t realise there are limits on the number of foreign passport holders available in Australian based businesses in China. This can create barrier for potential candidates with foreign passports applying for vacancies.

  • Travis Huggins, BCom (2003), Hong Kong

    When running a business in Mainland China, laws are not always black and white. You need to learn what similar businesses and the local government/tax offices do to ensure you stay within the boundaries of the law.

  • Vivian Lu, MFin (2015), Melbourne

    I didn’t know that in a professional environment, most employees acknowledge their direct superiors or team leader as “Teacher” together with their surname. For example "Teacher Wang".

  • Vienna Ke, Bcom (2009) Sydney

    The Chinese tend to favour Australians positively.  We share similar values - sincerity, humility and diligence. This shared cultural understanding translates to mutual respect in the business context and enables stronger ties in growing business partnerships.

  • Yiling Chen, Melbourne

    My time in Chinese business taught me that their government is far more invested in most industries, when compared to Australia. Therefore, international businesses often have a tough time operating in China.

Jill Lei is an Associate Professor in Marketing (Marketing and Management) at the University of Melbourne, Faculty of Business and Economics.

Spotlight on China was part of the MBS and BCom Enrichment Program which is coordinated by the Student Employability and Enrichment team, Faculty of Business and Economics, the University of Melbourne.

Discover the full range of student enrichment opportunities HERE