bailey china

The Tasmanian Trade Mission members visit Goldwind in China where turbines for the $300 million Cattle Hill windfarm in the Central Highlands will be manufactured.

By TCCI Chief Executive Michael Bailey

My recent trip to China as part of the Tasmanian Trade Mission with Premier Will Hodgman was a huge success.

While I only visited Beijing and Shanghai, the immediate benefits for TCCI members will be realised now and into coming years.

Two major, future goals will now be finalised:

  • A Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce trade mission to China in 2019, working with AusCham in Shanghai and Beijing.
  • Negotiating for TCCI members to be able to link with local Chinese chambers of commerce.

One of the first things that struck me on the mission was the extent of infrastructure in these two major Chinese cities, Beijing with 24 million people and Shanghai with 26.5 million.

They have far outstripped Australia, in terms of infrastructure in their cities and factories.

As an observation, Beijing struck me as the Canberra of China, but with much more industry, obviously, as the seat of government, with Shanghai more like Sydney in terms of its business environment.

We visited the Goldwind factory, making wind turbines for the Central Highlands’ Cattle Hill development among others, where our tour guide was a young woman in her 20s.

I enquired as to how she became a “guide” at Goldwind; she had studied a Masters in Business Research at UCLA.

Everywhere we went, the levels of educational attainment were obvious.

But I also believe we should not be afraid of partnerships in China, ones that can be of advantage to Tasmanian business and industry.

We need to realise we can’t match the level of “build” for their factories and just don’t have access to their extremely cost-effective labour market.

China, although still with severe air pollution in cities like Beijing, is working hard to reduce its emissions through renewable energy.

The Chinese think long-term, not the three or four-year political cycles of Australia, but forward generational planning.

For example, petrol mopeds, the transport of choice for millions, must now be electric in the big cities.

And while there are millions of cars, there are now significant incentives for Chinese drivers to change to electric cars.

One of the other major outcomes of the mission was the understanding of how we, little Tasmania, need to connect with Chinese markets.

To crack the local market, we need to work with the local provinces, local government in other words.

Which is why the TCCI’s relationship with AusCham will provide great benefits and advantages.

Our own AusTrade and AusIndustry have to be impartial, that’s their remit.

But organisations like Shanghai and Beijing AusCham can give us insight and direction now and into the future about with whom and how to do business with.