Mission to unlock China potential

A group of 10 Gippsland businesses have had the opportunity to explore potential export opportunities in the world’s second largest economy during a State Government trade mission to China last month.

The week-long trade mission in mid-May was organised to build export capacity in Gippsland and featured businesses from the meat and dairy, horticulture, information services and engineering and manufacturing sectors.

The initiative came about following discussions between Regional Development Victoria Gippsland and the State Government’s trade commissioner for Greater China Tim Dillon in October last year.

State Small Business, Innovation and Trade Minister Philip Dalidakis joined the delegation and said it provided an opportunity for the firms involved to explore their options in the Chinese market.

“This will lead to greater exports in Gippsland, I think probably from my perspective the purpose of taking some of the companies from the Valley to China was to demonstrate there is life after Hazelwood,” Mr Dalidakis said.

During the trade mission, participating businesses received a high level briefing from the China-Australia Chamber of Commerce in Beijing and attended Asia’s largest food innovation exhibition, SIAL China, which featured more than 3000 exhibitors.

They also participated in the KuShan Fair annual expo which focuses on advanced technology and equipment, took part in targeted business-to-business matching and visited the International Trade and Exhibition Centre.

The delegation also visited the headquarters of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

“For some of the companies that went on the trade mission, the Chinese market will be one that they are desperate to enter into and for some others they will walk away knowing that they are not ready to enter it yet,” Mr Dalidakis said.

“There’s no right or wrong experience going through to China, just what’s right or wrong for the businesses here.”

One business which had a positive experience during the visit was Traralgon digital services agency, Image Direct, which specialises in printing, Google Adwords advertising and building websites.

Company-owner Jim Radford said his firm saw opportunities in China.

“We’re looking for clients in China for our Google services and we’re wanting to help Gippsland businesses export to China,” Mr Radford said.

“We’re at the very start of that, we will be sending our web developers to study at Ali Baba in China, but that will happen in the next 12 months.”