China is easily Australia's largest trading partner in terms of exports and imports. Australia is also China's 6th largest trading partner. Coal and iron ore exports have been the prime drivers in the past. More recently agri-business and LNG are also important, while there are increasing trade flows of services for which ChAFTA has been instrumental.
Beyond opportunities to trade in goods and services, new Australian businesses continue to establish a presence in China and Australian businesses already present, consider expanding their operations. Yet China remains a difficult market to do business for many companies across multiple sectors and executives remain concerned about the Chinese economy, increasing protectionism and rising employment and operating costs.
KPMG has worked in partnership with the China-Australia Chamber of Commerce (AustCham) and the University of Melbourne to produce the Doing Business in China report highlighting the experiences and opinions of Australian companies operating in China.
The 100 Australian large and SME businesses participated in AustCham’s inaugural 2017 Doing Business in China survey are overwhelmingly positive about the current economic and investment climate. Even more so, they clearly expect business conditions to improve even further in the next few years.
The China Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) is the single most important recent change affecting Australian businesses doing business with China. The report discusses the present and expected future benefits of the free trade agreement.
The rising Chinese middle class, Belt & Road Initiative and growth in the domestic economy are still viewed as very positive growth drivers and a key opportunities for companies operating in China.
Drawing on the key findings from the 2017 Doing Business in China Survey, we provide top tips for business success for Australian companies operating in China and 10 key questions that Boards should consider asking executives operating in China.