China is Queensland’s largest trading partner and an increasingly important investor in the state.


Predicted to become the world’s largest economy in the near future, China’s growing middle class and proximity to Queensland offer significant opportunities for Queensland companies.


The China–Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) enables Queensland businesses to benefit from agreed tariff reductions when exporting products to China, including:

  • agricultural products and processed food
  • resources
  • engineering goods and services
  • manufactured products.


The implementation of the China–Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) is stimulating Chinese investment in a number of strategic industries, including agribusiness, health care, and the high-tech and renewable energy sector.

China is shifting its economic model from ‘quantity growth’ to ‘quality development’ and Chinese companies are increasingly investing in sectors beyond resource extraction.

Combined with the continuing growth in personal incomes and the number of educated people, this will see China’s services sector become increasingly important, creating opportunities in:

  • healthcare
  • niche food products
  • technology
  • renewable energy.

With a focus on food security and internationalisation, China’s expected US$1.25 trillion in outward direct investment over the next decade makes it a target for investment attraction across a range of sectors.1

1KPMG Global China Practice.

Shanghai skyline

China opportunities



  • Food and agribusiness
  • Education and VET
  • Direct investment for agribusiness, health care and renewable energy
  • Energy
  • Ecommerce
  • Lifestyle products (food and services)
  • Nutraceuticals
  • Aged care and health care


  • Renewable energy
  • Resources and energy
  • Research and development collaboration
  • Incubator and creative technology
  • Smart cities
  • Fintech
  • Advanced manufacturing

Sector opportunities in China

Belt and Road and National New Type Urbanisation Plan

Urban development

‘Belt and Road’ is a chance to partner with Chinese companies to access traditional Chinese construction markets in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

The National ‘New Type’ Urbanisation Plan provides opportunities to bid for US$100 billion infrastructure development and services projects every year to 2020, targeting second- and third-tier cities.2

2Ernst & Young.

Food and agribusiness

China is expected to have 67% of its population living in urban centres by 2030,3 reducing land available for agricultural purposes. This situation, together with food safety concerns, is driving demand for imported high-protein foods and for increasing Chinese investment in Queensland agriculture.

3Economist Intelligence Unit.

Education and training

China’s rising middle class and ‘go younger’ trend will continue to drive opportunities across several areas, including English language, vocational training and higher education.

China is the number one source of international students in Queensland, with 26,686 student enrolments in 2017.4

4Australian Government Department of Education and Training.