AustCham Beijing Chairman’s Column: Making China part of Australia’s future


Enhancing the advocacy role of the Chamber will bring greater benefits to our members, writes newly elected AustCham Beijing Chairman, David Olsson.

With a newly elected government now in place, it’s time to return to business and direct our energy and focus towards Australia’s future path of engagement with China – which,  on any measure,  will define and shape Australia’s economic prosperity for decades to come.

The challenge and imperative for our new government must be to work at all levels to continue to deepen and strengthen the Australia – China relationship. But this responsibility does not fall only on the shoulders of our government and politicians alone.  Australian business also has a role to play through its willingness to commit to the region for the long haul. 

It is gratifying to see senior executives and the boards of many of Australia’s leading companies visiting China to learn more about the markets and opportunities, and to seek first hand advice on strategies for engagement with China.  These visits are an important way of developing an awareness of the issues relating to doing business in China, but they are only part of a more widespread and sustained effort required to understand the fastest growing, and most relevant, market for Australia.


AustCham supporting business

AustCham Beijing has for 15 years taken a lead role in supporting Australian business on the ground.  Our networking and business events are designed specifically to support Australian business. We do this by providing information and intelligence, direct access to Australian and Chinese government officials, as well as business and social events to bring members of the Australian community together. 

The representation and promotion of Australian business is a key part of AustCham Beijing’s business, and I’m pleased to report that the newly elected Board of Directors has, at its first formal meeting in August, taken steps to expand the advocacy role of the Chamber. Our intent is to ignite enthusiasm and build momentum around a range of key issues.  

The strength of our advocacy role will also come from greater coordination and alignment of efforts with the other Australian chambers on the mainland and in Hong Kong.

An exciting year ahead

Planning is underway for some high profile business events.  Apart from the events run by our industry working groups, look out for our Autumn and Spring speaker panels which will focus on specific issues relevant to our members, and our Women’s Business Initiative which will focus on events oriented toward women and promoting networking.  On the social side, the Great Ozzie BBQ in October will be a fun celebration of Australian culture in a truly Australian setting – family friendly and family fun.

ABF media

Through the energy and focus we are bringing to our activities, we aim to grow our membership numbers. This will make us financially stronger and enable us to provide more relevant services to our members through better information, access to people that matter and advocacy.   

I am keen to hear your views on our new direction and priorities and look forward to meeting members and visitors at our weekly networking and other events over the coming year.

David Olsson

AustCham Beijing Board of Directors for 2010-2011

Chairman: David Olsson – Partner, Mallesons Stephen Jaques


Deputy Chairman: Mina Guli – Vice Chairman, Peony Capital Limited

Vice Chairman: Kent Matla – Chief Executive Officer, GNS China

Treasurer: Mark Norris – Commercial Director, Knauf Plasterboard

Rob Campbell – Associate Principal, McKinsey & Company

Susan Dietz-Henderson – Chief Representative Officer, Capital Strategy Research

James Greer – China Manager, CBD Energy

Campbell Jeffrey – Chief Executive, The Burchett Group

Stephen Joske – Director, Chinese Forecasting Service, The Economist

Jason Li – Managing Director, Yatsen Associates

David Garnier – Director, New Wave Capital

Maria Liu – General Manager, ANZ Banking Group Limited, Beijing Branch

Rising from the Ashes

AustCham Beijing recently launched its Professional Women’s Initiative – Phoenix – a forum in China for women with a connection to Australia to share ideas and experiences, and to inspire and support each other with the greater goal of becoming an international network of women for women.
The phoenix is a truly powerful symbol.  In many cultures, and no less in China, where the phoenix stands for something strong, unique and beautiful; power used wispeonix_webely, and strength applied with gentleness. In China, it also carries with it qualities of morality, honesty, loyalty and good luck.   

Save the Date – Rising from the Ashes – Panel Discussion. November 24, 2010.

For more information about Pheonix please contact Dalwyn Bateson.

* The launch of Pheonix: Susan Dietz-Henderson, Dalwyn Bateson, Charmaine Guo and Mina Guli.

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