China an opportunity for local businesses

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto at Fengjing Ancient Town in Shanghai, China.

OPPORTUNITY awaits Hinchinbrook businesses in China if they are willing to put the time and effort in to forging strong trade ties, says Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto.

Speaking after a week-long visit to Shanghai as part of a parliamentary trade delegation, Mr Dametto said there was an “extraordinary” demand for high quality, premium products from Australia in which local businesses could potentially capitalise on.

“Instead of selling out to Chinese investors, there is a real opportunity to produce here and partner with Chinese import/distribution companies to fully capitalise on this growing market,” he said.

“But you have to be ready to invest in building relationships with the Chinese. Spend your time carefully picking the right business to partner with, and be willing to invest significantly in marketing and packaging and most of all, be ready to supply your product if it takes off.

“Although difficult, it’s not impossible to crack the market and is very rewarding with a middle class of an estimated 400 million people. To throw some figures around this, it is said if your new business or product launch isn’t seeing triple figure growth in the first four to five years, that can be interpreted as a floundering or failing product.”

Mr Dametto met with representatives from Austrade, Trade and Investment Queensland (TIQ) and multinational e-commerce business Alibaba during his trip, which marked 30 years of the sister-state relationship between Queensland and Shanghai.

“Those discussions made it clear to me that the Chinese do not appreciate foreigners who view them as a modern day cash cow and you will have far more success if you treat them as a friend,” he said.

“If you are looking to take the leap, I applaud your bullishness to succeed. The Chinese market really is your oyster.”

The delegation also met with Chairwoman Yin and representatives from the Shanghai People’s Congress, Australian business group AustCham Shanghai, AI innovators SenseTime Group and the Alibaba Group.

“We heard perspectives on the challenges and rewards of doing business in Shanghai from the makers of Bundaberg Ginger Beer (Bundaberg Brewed Drinks), and others who have been in the market for decades,” Mr Dametto said.

“On our last day, we visited Fengjing Ancient Town, the Yangtze River Delta Roadshow Centre, the Zhujing Yiheyuan Aged Care Centre and Shanghai Huawei Water Saving Irrigation Co.

“We were also fortunate to meet with successful restaurateur Michelle Garnaut of M on the Bund, Shanghai, where we saw the talents of the Queensland Youth Orchestra on show.”

The trade delegation included Speaker of the House Curtis Pitt, Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert, Assistant Treasurer Glenn Butcher, Kurwongbah MP Shane King, Kawana MP Jarrod Bleijie and Tony Perrett, Member for Gympie.

“Shanghai represents thousands of years of culture coexisting with emerging technologies and industry, a place evolving at an incredible speed in which no-one can predict its ceiling,” Mr Dametto said.

“The common theme seemed to be that luck brings money and money means luck. This is an emerging 400 million-strong middle class driven by an educated and ambitious 20s crowd embracing their 996 work culture like a badge of honour – 9am to 9pm, 6 days per week.

“Work seems to be a passion for many where everybody has a place and people seem happy to be working.

“I look forward to connecting local businesses with AusTrade and TIQ in their quest to take on China.”

Nick Dametto MP