Advancing Warrnambool as the leading ‘China Ready’ city in Australia
- Reinforcing and furthering government-to-government relations
- Expanding investment and trade
- Partnerships in Aged Care and Health
- Deepening Educational, Agricultural and Tourism exchanges and cooperation
- Enhancing the experiences and opportunities for Cultural, Arts and Sporting communities
Warrnambool City Council undertook a leadership role in developing the Warrnambool-Changchun Economic Development Demonstration Project, the first of its kind between Australian and Chinese sister cities. Supported by the Victorian Government, the investment in collaboration, shared goals, strong partnerships and leadership has created a gateway for Warrnambool and the Great South Coast allowing engagement and mutual gains, both cultural and economic, with China through the relationship with Changchun.
Understanding Chinese culture and business practice is a key to engaging with China. Through the Economic Development Demonstration Project, Warrnambool and the Great South Coast have a unique opportunity to generate economic activity through trade.
The attraction of the Chinese market has resulted in many countries and cities seeking to establish or expand economic ties with China. The strength and diversity of Great South Coast’s products and services position our region well to capitalise on China’s economic growth. This strategy seeks to support, consolidate and further the work the Warrnambool City Council has undertaken so far while outlining the role Council must play to leverage trade and investment opportunities, and ensure our regional economy and its businesses are prepared for China, are globally competitive and capable of providing prosperity for future generations.
Establishing intergovernmental relationships are an essential component of doing business with China. Creating and sustaining successful relationships in China requires clear goals. It is particularly important to work with Government to facilitate market access, business deal structure and government approvals. In recognition of this, Warrnambool and Changchun (Jilin Provence) entered into the Sister-City agreement in 2012, with a view to provide social and economic outcomes for the two communities.
1. Harmonize and leverage government activity across Australia and China to build a trade and investment framework to support the economic drivers of Warrnambool city and surrounding Great South Coast.
- Develop a 24-month calendar of business missions to Changchun and other relevant Chinese cities to pursue economic, social and cultural activity.
- To formalise the continuation and commitment of the Warrnambool City and Changchun City’s Sister-City relationship.
- Ensure allocation and focus of government resources to support the Warrnambool City Councils China Strategy.
- Support visits to Warrnambool by key decision makers from Changchun and other cities deemed important to Warrnambool and surrounding Great South Coast economic, social and cultural goals.
- Develop case studies to demonstrate and promote the opportunities for our region from the activation of the Free Trade Agreements with China.
- Develop and advocate to Federal and Victorian Governments for alternative funding models to finance economic development initiatives presented in the China Strategy.
- Engage with the Chinese government sector with the aim of entering into formal agreements to support long term cooperation in areas of mutual gains.
Warrnambool – Changchun Economic Demonstration Project –
Success through Mutual Gains
The Warrnambool China Bureau was created to function as a Chinese market business incubator, providing free customised support to small and medium-sized local businesses in the Great South Coast of Victoria. In co-operation with Asialink Business, the Warrnambool China Bureau assisted local businesses by offering end-to-end China market engagement support.
Camperdown based, Total Livestock Genetics has sent shipments or product to new markets in China after using the Warrnambool China Bureau’s services. As a result, Total Livestock Genetics also received an AustCham Westpac Australia-China Business Award in Shanghai in 2018.
Other benefits from the Warrnambool China Bureau include:
- a sister city university scholarship program for 12 students coming to the region with a potential economic return to the Great South Coast region of $1.2million;
- a wine company shipping product to China and partnering with a distribution company in Beijing;
- The regional tourism body presenting the city and surrounds on Chinese television to more than 10 million Chinese viewers.
- an aged care provider partnering with a China-based counterpart for a knowledge-based commercial exchange;
- the Bureau’s experts accompanied a delegation from the Warrnambool region to Changchun to prepare an itinerary, provide commercial guidance and language support. High level meetings included meetings between the Mayor of Changchun and the Mayor of Warrnambool.
Over a 12-month period the Bureau received more than 60 inquiries from Great South Coast businesses, offered range of workshops attended by more than 250 participants including wine retailers, hospitality and accommodation operators.
Ultimately the Bureau generated a region-wide engagement with businesses which were able to consider – or take – the first step into a new, potentially vast market.
The size and scale of China as a trade and investment partner for Warrnambool and Great South Coast offers the potential to provide a game-changing element for our region’s economy. Chinese interest in Australian-based investment is strong and growing. This investment has grown 2,700 per cent between 2004 and 2014. The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement will see stronger opportunity and potential for this growth to accelerate further.
Trends currently see investors looking to partner, engage and lock in supply of agricultual products, education, health and aged care services. Fostering these market opportunites with China will require support from Warrnambool City Council to ensure our region’s internationally engaged industries remain globally seeking to enter the Chinese market.
2. Target and attract Chinese investment and trade activity aligned with our region’s competitive strengths to support economic development.
- Engage with our local businesses community to develop an understanding of export capabilities and support requirements.
- Build cross cultural capability, networks and relationships that supports our regions economic drivers and trade opportunities with China.
- Explore and develop information resources which support attraction of potential investors and understanding our high value industries to support our economy and growth opportunities.
- Collaborate with our regional, state and federal governments to improve trade-related infrastructure that supports investment opportunities and economic development.