China and Australia have long enjoyed a solid economic partnership built on ensuring mutually beneficial outcomes, and a development of strong interpersonal and cultural links between both nations.
Despite recent criticisms that have been levelled at China by some parts of the Australian media, criticisms which led the Chinese Ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jingye, to tell a packed forum in Canberra this week that “those people are not willing to see the continued growth of the friendly co-operation between the two countries and two peoples”, and furthermore that the Australian media is trying to “instigate China panic”.
Despite the hurdles, the relationship between China and Australia is developing faster than at any time in recent history, with a new report entitled “Partners in prosperity: The benefits of Chinese investment in Australia” released on Thursday by Deloitte Access Economics highlighting the positivity, and primacy, of the burgeoning partnership between Australia and China now, and into the future.
Without any shadow of a doubt, Chinese investment is critical to the ongoing financial success of Australia, and the report itself highlighted a number of relevant case studies that demonstrated not only the importance of the collaborative partnership between the two nations, but also the unique way in which the Chinese investment allows for the autonomy of the existing operations following the capital injections made.
This autonomy afforded comes in the form of maintaining Australian management, Australian workforces, and by doing so, resulting in outcomes that are geared towards maximising the potential of that partnership, without infringing upon the inalienable rights of the Australian side of the deal.
In fact, the reality of this investment is that not only is there this independence, but the investment leads to a greater intercultural connection between China and Australia.
The friendship between China and Australia is built on positive outcomes, but it is in some part defined by the differences between both sides. Differences which should be understood, navigated, and celebrated, allowing both nations to lower their barriers and subsequently raise their levels of successful interaction.
This does not simply relate to Australia becoming more open to investment, but rather also identifying that there are significant opportunities to expand their operations into the Chinese market, and one of the ways in which this can be achieved is by Australian businesses becoming more “China Ready”.
Jessie Liu, the head of China desk at the ANZ Bank explained that concept recently, and stressed that as China adapts its policy through the current five-year plan, and along with the continual emergence of the middle class, Australian companies have a prime opportunity to enter into a vast Chinese market, clamouring for their premium goods and services.
The Chinese market is a boundless opportunity for many Australian businesses, and access to that market is only improved, and not diminished, by the capital flows into Australia from China, that in turn lay the foundation and path back into China.
At a recent forum in Canberra this week, Chinese and Australian business leaders gathered to discuss the relationship between the two countries, with many outlining the need for Australian organisations to have a better understanding of the manner of doing business in China, and the complexities of market engagement on the mainland.
Time and time again, those who have followed that path successfully have shared the same message, a message that is clear. Partnerships that are driven through both sides coming together to pursue win-win outcomes, and underpinned by sharing knowledge and participating in cultural exchanges, are unquestionably those that are successful and lead to long-term outcomes to the benefit of all.
These benefits do not just extend to the countries involved, nor are they limited to the businesses that seek to yield a return, but rather, they share a positive impact on the people of both nations who themselves see higher standards of living, higher standards of education, higher levels of healthcare, while at the same time lowering the barriers to future successful global economic engagement for the generations that follow them.
It is this future, this bright and prosperous future for both China and Australia that should be pursued fervently. Free and open trade that is uninhibited by fallacious, and damaging narratives delivered by those who seek to undermine the strong and beneficial partnership between China and Australia.
A relationship with the potential to serve as a beacon for all international, and intercultural relationships not only in the Asia-Pacific, but across the globe. A relationship built on trust, mutually beneficial outcomes, and putting an end to zero-sum situations that serve no purpose other than to divide, when the possibilities to thrive, are endless.