ACAA Awards: 2011


The University of Newcastle has cleaned up at this year’s Australia China Alumni Association Awards, winning four of the nine award categories, while University of Wollongong graduate, Simon Chung, has taken out the top award as China Alumni of the Year.

Now into its third year, the awards continue to showcase the extraordinary achievements of Australian university graduates working in China. Over 150,000 Chinese students have studied at Australian universities since the early 1970s, and the Australia China Alumni Awards bring together Australian and Chinese graduates who share two things in common – their Australian study experience and their career paths in China. The annual awards also seek to recognise the diverse achievements of Australian expatriates in China, and the deepening Australia-China relationship.

And the winners are…


CPA Australia China Alumni of the Year Award

Simon Chung

University of Wollongong

ABF media

Taking out this year’s top award – CPA Australia China Alumni of the Year Award – is University of Wollongong graduate, Simon Chung.

Simon is the Global Chief Operating Officer for ChinaSoft International Limited, a Hong Kong listed company with revenue turnover of 1.6billion RMB in 2010 alone.


It has been a colourful career for Simon, expanding two continents and several countries in the Asia Pacific. Born in Vietnam to ethnic Hong Kong Chinese parents, Simon spent his early childhood in Saigon, moving to Australia at the age of 14 where he attended a number of schools in New South Wales, including Homebush High School. He later completed a Bachelor of Mathematics, majoring in Computer Science at the University of Wollongong. This led to a five-year career with the Australian Defence Force – working for the Australian Navy’s technology department.

Simon later returned to Hong Kong with his wife, during a time when Hong Kong’s mobile industry was booming. His job with then, Summer Group, led to career progression from project manager, to project director and then executive director – witnessing dynamic changes in the telecommunications sector from 2G to 3G and 4G.

“My first seven years out of uni were very technical,” says Simon. “But then I became more involved in the management side of things and that’s been my direction for the last 15 years.”

By 2000, as the global IT sector hit its glut, Simon was offered his first project in Mainland China – where he became the executive project director for a big contract with the Bank of China – working for two years in the bank’s head office in Beijing.

In 2005, he accepted his current appointment with Chinese firm ChinaSoft International. Simon was the company’s first non-Chinese senior manager – employed at the behest of Microsoft, which holds a 10 percent stake in the business. His role was to introduce Western management practices to the Chinese business.

His first two years on the job were not easy – as battled with internal management to implemented ways for the business to perform better, adding governance structures and introducing consultants and project managers from outside.

However, under Simon’s helm, ChinaSoft has grown from 800 employees five years ago to 13,000 today, spread across 26 subsidiaries across the globe. The business boasts MNC clients including GE, NEC, IBM, Hitachi and Microsoft.

“Today I’m the Global COO – but the role changes every two years – this is the culture of Western companies – to adapt to change.”

He credits his Australian study experience and his time with the Navy (where he learnt about risk mitigation) as key platforms for the way he runs his business today.

“My study in Australia helped me not only from the technology side of things, but the way of thinking – the open thinking and the work ethic,” he says.

Simon says his Australian university education taught him valuable lessons in structured thinking, resolving problems and risk management.

“In Australia, it’s the way you approach people, the way you face challenges and I think, my education in Australia gave me a very important foundation to build on my experiences.”

Earlier this year, Simon told the ACAA he believed both China and Australia could use their strengths to interact more with business opportunities to improve trade and help each other to grow stronger.

“I’ve always had a dream that I could contribute myself more and act as a small bridge to continue further improvements to the relationship between the two countries,” he said.

“My greatest achievement to date is not my title, it is the life I experienced in Australia and China, and that makes me a better person today.”

steven_chen_thumbAustralian Education International Young Australia China Alumni of the Year Award

Steven Chen (Chen Zhaowei)

The University of Sydney

Steven Chen is this year’s winner of the AEI Young Australia China Alumni of the Year. The University of Sydney Alumnus 
graduated with a Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations in 2000.

Steven is currently the Staffing Director at Baidu Inc., responsible for supporting Baidu’s hyper growth in executing talent acquisition strategy and game plans.

Prior to his employment at Baidu, Steven worked as a senior staffing manager for Microsoft, and was recognized by Microsoft’s global HR leadership team with a “Gold Star” award for important accomplishments that contribute to Microsoft’s business success.

Prior to that, Steven worked as National Staffing Manager for IBM for almost 10 years and was recognized as a “Top Talent” by IBM.

“The study experience in Australia is one of my most valued assets,” says Steven.

“Australia not only offered me academic achievement, but also shaped and developed my confidence, independence, maturity, problem solving skills, and understanding of other cultures, as well as the ability to see issues from different perspectives.”

“I really cherish my study experience at the University of Sydney. It helped me lay out my career direction and enable my knowledge and expertise to excel in the field of my interest. The teaching methodology was remarkable and focused not only on classroom teaching but also encouraged practical learning like giving presentations in front of all class members, holding interactive group discussions and doing research work to encourage independent thinking, critical thought and innovative ideas.”

cartier_lam_thumbAustJOBS Australia China Alumni Award for Banking and Finance

Dr. Chi Man Cartier Lam

The University of South Australia / Murdoch University

Cartier Lam has taken out the Australia China Alumni Award for Banking and Finance. Dr Lam is the Deputy Chief Executive with the Bank of East Asia (China) and has 22 years of experience in the banking sector.

Dr Lam has a Doctor of Business Administration degree and Master of Advanced Business Practice degree from the University of South Australia and has an MBA from Murdoch University.

Shanghai-based Dr Lam has held previous positions with BEA where he was the General Manager of the bank’s Dalian Branch and Xiamen Branch, the Deputy General Manager of the Taipei Branch, the chief representative of the Fuzhou Representative Office and the Business Manager of the Guangzhou Branch.

Dr Lam is credited with assisting the Bank of East Asia (China) to become one of the first four foreign banks to be locally incorporated in China in 2007.

In the time he has worked with the bank, BEA has been awarded “Best Foreign Retail Bank” (2007) by Asian Banker and today has nearly 100 outlets across China. It has been recognised as the Mainland’s most profitable foreign bank for four consecutive years.

Dr Lam is a full member and elected as a Chartered Marketer of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

He is a member of the Shanghai Overseas Chinese Friendship Association and the Vice President of the Shanghai Public Relation Association. Furthermore, Dr Lam is a member of CPPCC Huangpu District, Shanghai and a standing committee member of the Shanghai Huangpu Overseas Chinese Friendship Association.

He is also an invited Member of CPPCC Dalian and has been appointed as an Overseas Economic Advisor to the Dalian Municipal Government.

In 2009, Dr Lam founded the Soong Ching Ling Foundation BEA Charity Fund to support children’s education in China. The fund has raised over RMB12 million and 10 “Firefly” projects have been established to modernize teaching equipment and library facilities in primary and secondary schools in rural locations in China.

zhou_yun_thumbAusAID Scholarships Australia China Alumni Award

Assoc. Prof. Zhou Yun

The University of Newcastle

Professor Zhou Yun is the winner of this year’s AusAID Scholarships Alumni Award. Professor Zhou is the Director, International Cooperation, with the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Science. She graduated from the University of Newcastle after winning an AusAID scholarship in 2002 to study a Masters degree in Environmental Studies.

Zhou Yun has been with the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Science since 1990 where she has been involved in a number of projects funded by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, AusAID, the Canadian International Development Agency and the Swedish International Development Agency as project director/coordinator.

Her interests lie in climate change and energy, environmental impact assessment and public participation in environmental protection.

Professor Zhou is very active in Sino-Australian environmental cooperation, especially in contributing to the Australia-China Environment Development Program. 
Most recently Prof. Zhou has been working on an EU funded project to map out China’s areas of Environmental Research Excellence and major Infrastructure. She is currently researching the economic and health impact of contaminated water resources in China, and the impact of climate change on water shortages. She is also working on the AusAID sponsored project – Transjurisdictional Water Pollution Management in China.

She has played a key role in Canadian-funded “Trees for Life” project that has involved 200,000 Chinese children in an educational project growing trees from seeds since 1994.

Professor Zhou is based in Beijing and is presently also a doctoral candidate at the Beijing Normal University.

mic_mittasch_thumbAustrade Australia China Alumni Award for Entrepreneurship

Michael (Mic) Mittasch

RMIT University

Michael Mittasch is the CEO, Owner and Executive Director of Mitchells Equipment (Hebei) Co. Ltd and Mitchells Holdings Asia. Based in Beijing, Michael has transformed and grown Mitchells from a China-based manufacturing workshop for its parent company (Mitchell Mill Systems Canada) to a stand-alone company exporting equipment globally.

Mitchells Equipment designs, manufactures and supplies customised material handling systems and equipment worldwide. More specifically, Mitchells is in the business of the engineering and manufacturing of purpose-built conveying equipment for grain and feed processing.

Since becoming the owner and Executive Director of Mitchells, Michael has achieved an 81 percent increase in sales revenue compared to the three year period prior to acquisition and three years of ownership, as well as an 80 percent increase in the company’s manufacturing facility size and a 42 percent increase in the number of employees. In 2010 Mitchells had 120 employees and annual revenue of over US$6 million.

The Chinese Government has awarded Mitchells an Exceptional Leadership in Industrial Revitalisation Award and an Excellence in Development and Innovation Award. Mitchells has played a key role in raising the awareness and profile of Australian Rules Football internationally as a major supporter of the Chinese Australian Rules Football Team – the Red Demons. Mitchells is also working with local universities in Yanjiao to provide six-month internships to 3rd and 4th year students. Michael is also the long-serving President of the Beijing Bombers AFL Club.

Michael graduated from RMIT University in 1990 with a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree.

wang_shu_guang_fieldwork2_thumbBusiness Events Sydney Australia China Alumni Award for Research and Innovation

Dr. Wang Shuguang

The University of Newcastle / The University of New South Wales

Dr Wang Shuguang is the Associate Professor and Director of Research with the Sichuan Academy of Social Sciences.

Based in Chengdu, Dr Wang’s work with China’s HIV patients has attracted international acclaim.

In China, Dr. Wang Shuguang is a leading sociologist, psycho-cultural researcher, and nationally recognized international advisor on HIV/AIDS in China.

Dr Wang completed his PhD at the University of Newcastle, going on to complete NH&MRC funded post-doctoral research and training at the National Centre in HIV Social Research at the University of NSW.

Today, Dr Wang spends 80 percent of his time living and working in the field in China, but also finds time to maintain strong academic and research ties with Australia as an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Newcastle.

He has successfully undertaken over 30 bilateral/multilateral international collaborative HIV/AIDS programs in HIV/AIDS prevention, including projects with Australia NHMRC, Australia AFAO HIV Project, AusAID and ARC Tibet HIV program, UNICEF China HIV project and Keats Research Projects (Newcastle University 2001-2010 ongoing academic China studies) covering various vulnerable populations to support strategic development for integrated and innovative responses to epidemics and disaster in diverse challenged settings across China.

Dr Wang has published four academic books, numerous book chapters and more than 90 papers to significantly contribute to the academic literature on China’s sociology and psycho-cultural studies of HIV and health both nationally and raising its international profile. Dr Wang’s latest achievement and ongoing project for the wellbeing of the Chinese people, has been to coordinate the research on psycho-cultural rehabilitation for ethnic Qiang children affected by the massive Sichuan earthquake in May 2008.

Dr. Wang was awarded the Newcastle University Alumni Award for International Leadership in 2010.

george_tuan_thumbTelstra Australia China Alumni Award for ICT and New Media

George Tuan

The University of Newcastle

George Tuan is the Chairman and CEO of Adsit Advertising Co Ltd, the largest web intelligent ad communication service provider in China. Through establishing strategic partnerships with China’s leading Internet media (including Baidu TV, Sina, Tencent and Renren) and world-class advertising agencies (WPP, OMG, Aegis, and Publicis), Adsit provides online targeting advertising services for 430 leading brands in China including Coca-Cola, Adidas, China Mobile, BMW, Mercedes Benz and Pizza Hut.

Through the creative use of ICT and new media technologies, Adsit is taking the lead in the intelligent advertising industry in China, providing the highest ROI and measurable analysis of communication effects transforming Digital Marketing from the traditional extensive management to targeted, intelligent and refined management.

Looking forward, Mr Tuan is planning to make Adsit a public company in the next 12 months and establish its position in the online marketing technology platform.

Prior to founding the company, Mr. Tuan worked as senior executive in the international Internet, IT, and telecom companies including Yahoo (Special Assistant to the CEO and President – Taiwan), Sysware Group, Vice President of Artel Group and Chief Operating Officer of CITIC Group, and in the fields of sales and marketing as well as operation management for over 18 years.

Mr. Tuan graduated from the University of Newcastle with a Master of Business Administration in 1998.

ian_lee_thumbMallesons Stephen Jaques Australia China Alumni Award for Corporate Achievement

Ian Lee

University of Technology, Sydney

Mr Ian Lee is the President & Chief Operating Officer for Omnicom Media Group, China – a leading global advertising, marketing and corporate communications company, providing services to over 5,000 clients in over 100 countries.

In his current role, Ian has helped grow OMG from a second tier agency to one of the largest media service group agencies in China and has had direct responsibility to run day-to-day operations of three agencies namely OMD, PHD, and M2M with offices across Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.

In his previous role as CFO, Ian supervised the finance, HR, administration, legal and IT functions and between 2005 to 2010, helped OMG China’s annual turnover grow tremendously, with increased staff numbers and capacity, developing comprehensive company policies aimed at ensuring efficiency in operations, and established strong company culture with emphasis on team work and commercial viability.

Before joining OMG China, Ian was the Senior Vice President, Business Development with STAR Group, Hong Kong where he was responsible for developing media strategies for online, outdoor and print media.

Ian is an alumnus of the University of Technology, Sydney where he graduated with a Master of Management.

ong-koh_wee_nah_thumbIELTS Australia China Alumni Award for Women in Leadership

Ms Ong-Koh Wee Nah

The University of Newcastle

Chengdu-based Ong-Koh Wee Nah has built a highly successful international career in architecture, particularly in complex commercial developments and is a graduate of the University of Newcastle.

She holds a wealth of international experience from work on projects in Singapore, India, Pakistan, Cambodia, Taiwan, Vietnam and Dubai.

In 2006, Ms Ong-Koh was appointed the General Manager and Project Director for Frasers Property China. Frasers Property is a leading provider of business and living space solutions and reliable property management services in Greater China. In just five years in China, she has overseen significant work including two major projects from conception to operation – a 32,000 square-metre multiple level retail/office mall in Beijing (completed and in operation within the exceptional timeframe of 18 months in time for the Beijing Olympics) and a major project, completed in November 2010, leading the development of the largest logistic centre in Western China with a floor area of 193,996 square metres. This project was also completed on schedule and budget, with office space selling out only six months after the launch.

Ms Ong-Koh’s proven success, dedication to excellence has seen her appointed to lead the phase 2 development of this major project.

“The syllabus for the Architecture degree [at the University of Newcastle] was very wide and encompassing ranging from design, building sciences, structures, quantity surveying, construction management, history of Architecture, landscaping, art appreciation and computers,” Says Ms Ong-Koh.

“These subjects provided me a solid foundation to face the real world. Living away from my family in a foreign land also made me independent and subconsciously develop an adventurous spirit.”

“Studying in Newcastle gave me a broad perspective, enabled me to appreciate and understand different cultures. I loved to travel around Australia with my friends during our vacations, so it was study, work, socialising and play that moulded me during my most important years of my early adult life – a keen sense of learning and the urge to challenge and push for greater heights.”




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