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How Australian companies do business in China

Business Review Australia Staff
|Apr 27|magazine7 min read

China is a marketplace with a great deal of potential for Australian businesses; however, there are also many challenges to doing business within this large foreign nation. Following is some insight into how a number of Australian companies have engaged with Chinese partners in a profitable manner.

Seeing the Need

Aveo, in tandem with Chinese partners, has recently completed the "Tide and Health Campus," a sophisticated retirement village in Shanghai. Aveo has a 30 per cent stake in the company and will be in charge of running the facility when it finally opens. Other companies, including ThomsonAdsett, Sapphire Care and Macquarrie Capital, are also integrally involved in the design and construction of senior living facilities in the country.

One reason why these businesses have been so successful is that they saw a gap in business that their expertise could fill. China's population is aging rapidly and Chinese government agencies and businesses do not have experience with building senior living facilities. The Australian companies that have stepped up to meet the need are likely to be in demand for the foreseeable future.

Building Relationships

Bryan Carr is the CEO of SmartTrans, a company that specializes in offering mobile apps and an online payment platform. Its business in China has grown exponentially and has served well over six million customers since its inception.

Mr. Carr recently noted the important role that relationships play in starting a business venture in China. He accurately pointed out that it takes time to build good relationships with Chinese partners, and profits play a big role in keeping business partnerships of this nature running well. He also noted that Australian companies that need assistance from Chinese government officials and/or business owners would do well to choose a partner that already has a good working relationship with these individuals.

At the same time, not all companies agree that sharing a business with Chinese partners is the best route. David Keir of Freedom Road Travel notes that it is possible to work well with Chinese partners without sharing a business with them. At the same time, his website makes it clear that Freedom Road Travel was founded by those who have a great deal of experience living and working in China.

It will take time for any business to build a relationship with Chinese partners. However, for any executive willing to take the time to assess the market and choose the right company or individual to partner with, success is possible.