Business / Economy

Chinese entrepreneurs seeking opportunities in China-Australia FTA

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-12-05 11:00

CANBERRA -- A delegation of top Chinese entrepreneurs from the elite China Entrepreneur Club (CEC) is visiting Australia this week in search of partnership opportunities in Australia.

It is the first high-level Chinese business delegation which has visited Australia after the substantive conclusion of China- Australia Free Trade Agreement talks last month.

After meeting with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Monday, the delegation has been meeting with Australian business counterparts, industry and government representatives during the week to discuss new investment, trade and business opportunities.

Ma Weihua, an acclaimed Chinese banker and head of the CEC delegation, told Xinhua on Tuesday that the delegation, comprising of outstanding entrepreneurs from major Chinese industries, including agriculture, manufacture, property and constructions, shipping, culture, and investment, is particularly interested in the opportunities in agriculture, healthcare, property and cultural industries in Australia.

Professor Bob Carr, director of University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) Australia China Relations Institute, made open remarks at the Australia China Entrepreneur Dialogue Tuesday hosted by Australian China Business Council (ACBC). He said Australia is delighted to welcome the CEC delegation as CEC members represent the best of China's innovative private sector which is an essential part of the bilateral trade and investment relationship.

"The visit presents an exceptional opportunity for Australian companies seeking to export or attract investment by connecting with Chinese business leaders at the highest of levels," he said.

Frank Hu, chairman of Central China Real Estate Ltd, a company focusing on the property industry in Henan province, showed interest in Telstra, Australia's largest telecommunications company, in finding a solution to future smart cities.

"I have been in Australia for import and export business since the end of 1980s ... We are looking for a solution for future smart city and community in China. I think Telstra would be our potential solution partner in near future," Hu said on Wednesday when visiting Telstra.

At the Australia Tourism Roundtable on Tuesday, Michael Clifton, senior trade commissioner and national manager China of Austrade, tried to promote Australia as a tourism destination to the Chinese entrepreneurs.

"Boasting unparalleled natural scenery, rich flora and fauna as well as striking vastness, Australia is the world's eighth largest tourism destination. As the largest revenue-generating service sector in Australia, and thus has a core focus of the Australian government," Clifton said.

Geoff Dixon, chairman of Tourism Australia, said the tourism sector is worth more than A$13 billion ($11.5 billion) a year.

"We are finding new initiative to make a significant contribution to the Tourism 2020 goal, of increasing overnight visitor expenditure to between A$115 billion ($97.6 billion) and A$140 billion ($119 billion) by the year 2020.

"It's a good beginning for our business relationship by making friends first, then building trust and overcoming the barrier of culture and language. We are looking for a win-win partnership. I have seen more benefits and success of our visit than expected," Zhu Xinli, chairman of China Huiyuan Juice Group and executive board member of CEC, said at a press conference.

Australia is one of the hottest destinations of Chinese overseas investment. Researches show that the total volume of overseas merger and acquisition by Chinese businesses during the first three quarters of 2014 has increased by 31 percent compared to the same period last year.

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