Published on the 25/01/2019 | Written by Jonathan Cotton
It’s not without its difficulties, but the big opportunities in China are only set to get bigger…
The time might be right for that big new China export initiative: Online giant Alibaba, the Australia-China Council and Australia Post have launched a new educational resource for Australian businesses seeking to enter the Chinese market.
Beginning February 25, the partnership will be offering the seven week online China Canvas Challenge – valued at US$4,999 apparently – free to Australian businesses.
Based on the Lean Canvas business plan template, the course aims to help companies tailor their offering specifically for the Chinese market, work through logistical issues, and deal with legal and regulatory hurdles as well as staff challenges. Along with educational content the course will offer participants mentor support, access to China market research, industry reports, case studies and more. At the end of the program, participants will have the opportunity to pitch their business idea to a panel of judges, with the winner receiving a business exploration trip to China to test their idea.
“Powerful drivers are converging in a way that is reshaping the international order.”
The muscle of the initiative is coming from Alibaba Cloud, a wing of the e-commerce giant that provides cloud computing services to Alibaba merchants, start-ups, corporations and government organisations.
“As the leading cloud provider in China and having helped many international companies to grow, Alibaba Cloud knows what it takes for businesses to be successful in China,” enthuses Raymond Ma, general manager Australia and New Zealand Alibaba Cloud.
“We offer dedicated programs that enable a China Gateway for Australian businesses. We support organisations with vital technology infrastructure and capabilities to develop their products and services online. Alibaba Cloud will be offering a dedicated session on the business and technical aspects of driving organisations into China with our China Gateway Program in early 2019.”
It all makes a lot of sense. As it stands, China is already Australia’s largest trading partner by far – nearly one-third of Australian goods and services trade hinges on the Chinese market – and by 2020, its e-commerce market will be worth an estimated AU$1.6 trillion. According to the Australian Trade and Investment Commission Australian exports of goods and services to China across 2016-17 were worth AU$110.4 billion.
And Australia and China are increasingly connected – thanks in large part to a broad bilateral free trade agreement, growing investment in both regions and a seemingly ever increasing flow of students, tourists and migrants.
It just remains to be seen whether the Australian Government can fully embrace the China opportunity. The Federal Government’s still-current Foreign Policy White Paper, exhibits a palpable ambivalence towards China, especially in regards to Australia’s relationship with the US – which includes of course, comprehensive security agreements.
“Powerful drivers are converging in a way that is reshaping the international order and challenging Australia’s interests,” reads that report. “The United States has been the dominant power in our region throughout Australia’s post-second world history. China is challenging America’s position.
“We encourage China to exercise its power in a way that enhances stability, reinforces international law and respects the interests of smaller countries and their right to pursue them peacefully.
“Australia will encourage the United States and China to ensure economic tension between them does not fuel strategic rivalry or damage the multilateral trading system.”