AustCham Shanghai Chairman’s Column: New Beginnings

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Two months into his Chairmanship at AustCham Shanghai, Peter Arkell reflects on the strength of the Chamber and its objectives into the future.


AustCham Shanghai’s First Eleven
 
You do not get much time to contemplate life in Shanghai. Just when we think that we can do some thinking and forward planning, the world around you changes and a rethink is underway before you have implemented your original plan. At least it seems to be like that most days, yet this is part of the great fascination of living and working in Shanghai.
 
Certainly, it is a wonderful privilege to be living in a city like this.
 
The Shanghai AustCham Board considered its strategic direction soon after the AGM held in mid-year. This is a “stocktake” of our achievements and shortcomings as well as a mapping of where we want to get to as a Chamber in the coming year.
 
Outgoing Chairman David Keir remarked at the AGM “the Board has identified eleven value proposition dimensions and it is amazing how the importance of each varies from one member to the next.”
 
During his two years in the Chair, David kept the Board’s focus on those value propositions. At the new Board’s review we confirmed these value propositions and, in fact, gave them a brand that was true to our Australian heritage. They are our First Eleven.
 
So, as life whizzes around us and we adapt to the ever-changing circumstances of life in Shanghai, we have this First Eleven, the value propositions, that remind us of what is important for our members. These include how to improve for our members:
 
1.       Business networking
 
2.       Branding/exposure
 
3.       Referrals

 
I’m honoured to have been elected as the Chairman and delighted that Ben Lyons is to be the Deputy Chairman.
I hope to have regular “Chairman’s Cuppas” at the Chamber offices. Be sure to drop by if you have the time when the notes go out about these informal gatherings.
 
Every new year starts with a lot of promise and we are looking forward to the 2012/13 AustCham Shanghai year. We are determined to pull off the AustCham Greater China integration with our cousin AustChams in China. Just as we continue to be an advocate for our members and to facilitate the networking that has been our strength.
 
By the time that I write the next of these columns we will have conducted a Business Sentiment Survey of Australia businesses in China. This is a joint effort between AustChams across China and Austrade. It is being strongly supported by the Federal Trade Minister and we are looking to it as a way of taking the pulse of our business community in China.
 
As a business person in this part of the world, I find it puzzling to read some of the pessimistic, even negative, reporting of the business climate here. At times I feel that I must be in another country, certainly not the China that is reported in the Australian media. This will be a great way to take a reading on how those on the ground across China, not just those in Shanghai or Beijing, are faring and how they view the business climate in China.
 
For those Australian businesses, commentators, observers looking at China and wondering how to get a handle on complexities of China, you need look no further than AustChams across the country. A good friend, when thinking about our American friends here, said: “no American politician or decision maker would leave the Washington Beltway without consulting AmCham.” Likewise, Australians have a great resource in the Australian Chambers of Commerce in China. Politicians, business leaders, entrepreneurs, educators and all, “should not leave Mascot bound for China without consulting AustCham.”
 
The 40th Anniversary of diplomatic ties between Australia and China is looming. It is incredible to think that we have among our Shanghai community some folks who have been here for most of those 40 years. Remarkable. It was a really terrific and historic event that has delivered so much to Australia and China. Long may the friendship between the two countries prosper and flourish.
 
Peter Arkell
Chairman, AustCham Shanghai 
 

To learn more about AustCham Shanghai visit: www.austchamshanghai.com

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