At the Hengqin Free Trade Zone with Eric Zhang and Cimy Ma from the Hengqin FTZ Business Development Centre
Our annual “Invest in Australia” Mission was held from 17th to the 22nd January 2016 in Hong Kong and China. As well as representing Australia at the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong, we also led an Australian mission to Zhuhai in China’s Guangdong Province for a day of tours, business meetings and presentations. Being one of the first Australian missions to Zhuhai, our delegation represented an opportunity to lay the foundations for a platform of business, trade and investment relationships between Australia and the rapidly emerging 3rd tier city of Zhuhai.
In the morning, we visited the Hengqin Free Trade Zone, one of the three pilot free trade zones in the Pearl River Delta Region to be announced by President Xi Jinping in 2014. We were met by representatives from the Hengqin FTZ Business Development Centre who provided a brief tour and presentation of the FTZ. When fully completed, the Hengqin FTZ, with its preferential policies and financial incentives, will be a great platform to support Australian businesses entering the China market. In addition, its focus industries (tourism and leisure, financial services, education and advanced technology) match with some of Australia’s key strengths.
We then travelled into the Zhuhai CBD to meet with representatives of local government agencies (the Zhuhai Bureau of Commerce, the Investment Promotion Services Centre of Xiangzhou District and the Investment Promotion Centre of the Zhuhai Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone) who presented opportunities in Zhuhai for overseas investment and business collaboration in key emerging sectors such as biomedical technology, tourism & leisure and financial services. This was followed by a traditional Cantonese banquet including a discussion about the possibilities and opportunities for establishing a platform for engagement between Australia and Zhuhai.
As an emerging and fast-growing city, Zhuhai represents a unique platform for Australian small to medium sized businesses to expand into China. With a small population (2.3 million) and relatively low numbers of international companies operating in Zhuhai, competition is less ferocious and the local government associations are very welcoming of overseas companies looking to do business in Zhuhai. Also, many of the city’s industrial zones receive preferential policies (for example tax incentives and rent-free periods), making it a relatively easy and cost-effective destination for expansion. And with the completion of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, business and travel will become even easier, opening up Zhuhai to Hong Kong and the rest of the world.
We hope to come back to Zhuhai in 2016.
Lunch with Carrie Lin from the Investment Promotion Centre of the Zhuhai Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone, Cheryl Zhang and Foster Xie from the Zhuhai Bureau of Commerce and Yi Wei Jiang from the Investment Promotion Service Centre of Xiangzhou District