A Chinese national who completed university studies in Queensland is now helping a Wide Bay-based macadamia producer leverage export opportunities to her homeland.

Flora Zhang has used her post-graduate studies to help Bundaberg-based Macadamias Australia successfully export bulk and retail commodities to China.

Now working as the Export Marketing and Business Development Co-ordinator for Macadamias Australia, Ms Zhang completed a Graduate Diploma of Applied Law (Major in International Trade) at Queensland University of Technology last year.

She has been invited by the Australia China Business Council (ACBC) to address a Brisbane forum on 10 October where other Queensland businesses can learn how to tap into local bi-lingual talent to further their export ambitions.

Ms Zhang led Macadamias Australia’s research and strategy for exporting bulk and retail nuts into China. This included leading the e-commerce strategy for selling through Alibaba (online) and Fresh Hema (online and retail stores). Within months of launching on Alibaba, the Australian agribusiness became the top e-commerce store in the imported macadamia category.

‘China has such a large population and (domestically) they can’t produce enough high-quality food for the demand,’ Ms Zhang said.

‘The middle-class is booming, with households increasing their disposable income.

‘Macadamias are regarded as a high-end nut in China. A lot of young professionals are turning to macadamias from almonds and walnuts.’

Macadamias Australia Director Trevor Steinhardt said China-based companies appreciated dealing with specialists with language skills.

‘Flora has enabled us to build a network and understands the culture much better than we do,’ he said.

‘Flora has also helped us enormously in our training and understanding of doing business in China.

‘In terms of the bulk side, Flora’s study enabled her to understand our business, create systems, streamline and value-add in regards to logistics, stock planning and scheduling, contracting, customer service and market intelligence.’

Originally hailing from China’s Guangxi province – a southern region with more than twice the population of Australia – Ms Zhang has made Bundaberg her new home.

China accounts for the largest group of international students studying in Queensland, with more than 30,000 currently enrolled in higher education, vocational education and training, English language courses or high schools, according to Deloitte Access Economics.

Study Queensland is a sponsor of the ACBC forum.

International education and training is identified as a key services export in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.