Business / Economy

Australia places China high on innovation agenda

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-03-10 15:06

SYDNEY - Australia is placing China high on its innovation agenda, as part of its plans to boost innovation.

The Australian government announced plans last month to establish an innovation hub for entrepreneurs in Shanghai.

China was always going to be a logical place to create one and it's great to see the government thinking beyond mining, energy, agriculture and education, which have formed the basis of the trade relationship between China and Australia, said Australia Chamber of Commerce Chair Tracy Colgan.

"Some have questioned what Australia has to add to this highly innovative and competitive marketplace in China," Colgan said.

"It's a good point, and anyone who has spent time in China will notice how far ahead in adopting technology this market is when compared to Australia."

"I can pay for vegetables at a street market in Beijing with my smartphone using WeChat."

Colgan noted however that Shanghai was the wrong location for the hub.

"Shanghai makes as much sense as placing a landing pad in New York or Chicago instead of Silicon Valley in the USA," she said.

"Beijing, the cultural and political capital, is also the innovation capital of China and Haidian district, locally known as the Silicon Valley of China, is at its epicentre."

Australian Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne said entrepreneurs accessing the landing pads will be assisted to commercialise their products and services through access to the expertise, infrastructure and innovation and marketing networks of local partners.

Speaking at a Committee for Economic Development (CEDA) event last week in Sydney, Australian Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy added China should be looked on both as a source of customers and investment.

Roy also discussed an upcoming trade mission to China that will feature a dedicated innovation stream for the first time, highlighting the importance between the two countries.

"You just have to look at other companies such as SEEK and what they're doing in the Chinese marketplace," he said.

Asia Options Director Oliver Theobald also praised the Australian government plans.

"The Australian government's decision to develop a launching pad in China is a good one, as it will provide some support for new entrants, and compliments the work of Asia Recon and the Australian Business Forum to help boost public consciousness about the opportunities in this space," Theobald said.

"Tech giants in China are transforming into powerful conglomerates."

The Chinese government also encourages investment into the innovation space.

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