The China market presents some challenges but still holds real opportunities for Australian exporters, according to businesses surveyed for the latest Westpac Australia-China Business Sentiment Survey.

The report presents findings from 211 Australian businesses and analyses China’s ecommerce and regulatory environment.

Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner for China Julie-Anne Nichols said Queensland exporters looking to do business with China could use the survey results to better understand challenges, opportunities and effective strategies.

‘The results show that Australian firms do face some challenges but they are here for the longer term in China,’ she said.

‘Over half of the respondents noted that that regulatory environment is a challenge but only 25% said these had any real impact on their business in China.

‘More than 60% said the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement had created opportunities for them, and almost 80% were optimistic about generating profits in China in 2019.

‘I also found it very interesting that more than 60% said they were customising their services and products for China, and those that did were more than 30% more profitable than others.’

The report showcases key Australian businesses who have successfully navigated the Chinese market, including Queensland luxury resort Hamilton Island.

Hamilton Island CEO Glenn Bourke shares an optimistic view of the China market. By focusing on innovation and getting the basics right, the resort is filling seasonal gaps with increasingly adventurous Chinese tourists.

‘Four years ago, Chinese visitors made up 1% of visitation. Now that figure is around 8%,’ he said.

‘When low-stream windows are topped up by Chinese travellers – like in the Chinese New Year holiday – that’s hugely helpful.’

Hamilton Island’s initiatives include a partnership with Chinese microblogging site Tencent Weibo, virtual reality tours, a rollout of online payment system UnionPay across the island, employing Mandarin-speaking staff, and more.

AustCham Shanghai partnered with Westpac to deliver the second annual survey. The data will strengthen its advocacy efforts to advance Australia-China business relations.

Queensland companies interested in exporting to China should contact TIQ for assistance.

Supporting Queensland exporters to enter new markets is a priority of the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.