AustCham Beijing: Winds of change


With changes at the helm within the Australian Embassy in Beijing and AustCham, it’s time to refresh our thinking on China, writes David Olsson, Chairman of AustCham Beijing.

Ambassadorial changes

As this article goes to press, Dr Geoff Raby is just weeks away from retiring as Australia’s longest serving Ambassador to China.


Since taking up the position in 2007, Dr Raby has presided over a period of unprecedented change to the economic and business relationship between China and Australia, while at the same time adroitly handling a rocky period in 2009 and the impacts of the global financial crisis. A good friend of the Australian business community, he has played an important part in fostering the growth of trade and China’s investment into Australia, and taken an active personal interest in broadening the relationship through the arts.

We wish him well as he joins the ranks of the Australian business community in Beijing. A special farewell dinner with the Australian community will be held on July 28 at Capital M. I encourage you all to attend this important event as we mark the end of a chapter.

In August, we will welcome Frances Adamson as our new Ambassador to China. We look forward to continuing the close ties between the business community and the Embassy, and will be actively seeking early opportunities for our members to meet with Ms Adamson.

As Ambassador elect, Ms Adamson has a strong base to build upon, but her appointment comes at a time when Australia must urgently start to lay the foundations for the next era of Chinese economic growth. With calls from China to broaden investment opportunities into Australia, we also need to work hard to ensure that barriers that Australian companies face when investing in China are addressed at both a political and business level.

A new level of engagement needed

ABF media

The challenges for government, business and our members are big. At a government level we must waste no more time in articulating policies that drive our future engagement with China. These policies should be built on the existing strong economic ties and mutual dependencies, and underpin a transition from a buyer-seller relationship to one that is much more sophisticated and enduring.

The foundation for that changing relationship will lie in multiple engagements at all levels, but especially at a person to person and business to business level. Our collective ambition should be to

move our relationship from that of a primarily transactional relationship to one which is more collaborative and built on principles of partnership.

AustCham is well positioned to assist. Our industry working groups, our increasing advocacy around key issues, our genuinely collaborative approach, and our willingness to shoulder the burden of tough conversations can go some way to support this changing engagement.

Look no further slots online spielen than the work we are doing to provide information and context through our business journal and our advocacy through the Financial Services Issues Paper to see the role AustCham can play.


Looking ahead

With this backdrop, AustCham has been pushing ahead with a number of initiatives that will help our members be better prepared to the winds of change that are sweeping through.

AustCham Greater China

At our AGM on June 30, resolutions supporting Beijing’s participation in the Greater China initiative were passed unanimously. With that clear mandate, AustChams in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong & Macau have now embarked upon phase 1 of the initiative which will involve the creation of a new peak body and establishment of the initial board.

The creation of a national platform is a transformational event. It will not only allow us to present a stronger and more unified voice for the Australian business community within the Greater China region but also provide tangible benefits to AustCham members through the creation of reciprocal rights and benefits, more relevant events and coordinated services.

15th anniversary

Mark your diaries. October 22 marks the 15th anniversary of the granting of a AustCham’s licence to operate in China. Planning is now underway for a landmark event that will not only mark this milestone, but be a celebration of Australia’s business engagement with China. This event will be one not to be missed. To find out more and see how your business can be involved, please contact our General Manager, Dalwyn Bateson.

AustCham Beijing Board for 2011 – 2012

At our 2011 Annual General Meeting held on June 30, eight new Board Directors were elected. Congratulations to Robert Campbell, Tracy Colgan, Mina Guli, Brendan Mason, Mark Norris, David Olsson, Norman Ting and Ben Way.

The new board meet on July 7 and re-appointed David Olsson as Chairman and Mina Guli as Deputy Chairman, with Susan Ditez-Henderson being appointed Vice Chairman and Ben Way as Treasurer. 

AustCham Beijing 2011 – 2012 Board

Robert Campbell – McKinsey & Co.

Tracy Colgan – Kamsky Associates, Inc.

Susan Dietz-Henderson – Capital Strategy Group

Dave Garnier – New Wave Capital

Mina Guli – Peony Capital

Campbell Jeffery – The Burchett Group

Stephen Joske – Economist Intelligence Unit

Brendan Mason – Cochlear Medical Device (Beijing) Ltd

Mark Norris – Knauf Plasterboard PRC

David Olsson – Mallesons Stephen Jaques

Norman Ting – Ausenco Beijing Ltd

Ben Way – Macquarie Group

Alan Morrell – ex officio – Austrade

Dalwyn Bateson – ex officio – General Manager

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