AustCham Westpac ACBA:2014 Winners announced

Winners have been announced at the AustCham Westpac Australia China Business Awards 2014.The winners of this year’s 2014 AustCham Westpac Australia China Business Awards have been announced at a gala event dinner in Shanghai.

 These prestigious awards, now running into their 21st year, celebrate the success of Australian businesses operating in Greater China.

The awards are the initiative of AustCham Greater China, incorporating the Australian Chambers of Commerce in Mainland China and Hong Kong. Westpac has been the title sponsor since 2010.

Westpac’s Head of Greater China, Mr. Andrew Whitford, said the bank had been supporting its customers in China for over 40 years and in that time, had witnessed some great success stories of Australian companies thriving in China.


“As a leading Australian bank we understand the importance of celebrating these success stories and this is one way we can recognise the companies that are leading the way in China through their innovations,” Mr Whitford said.

AustCham received almost 100 applicants for this year’s awards.

Reflecting the diversity of Australian businesses operating in Greater China, finalists represented a broad range of sectors from architecture and design, construction, logistics, education and training, primary industries and healthcare.

Craig Aldous, Elders’ General Manager for China, and a judge on this year’s AustCham Westpac Australia China Business Awards judging panel, praised the finalists for their innovative approaches to business.

“It was a tremendous experience for me to read the stories of so many quality companies that are achieving outstanding results in China and being truly innovative in their approach to business.”
Mr Aldous said.

ABF media



Winner: Transtar International Freight

ACBA Transtar web 2Founded in 1986, Transtar is a Melbourne- based privately owned international logistics company, specialising in the provision of end-to-end logistics solutions for Australian importers and exporters doing business with Asia. Transtar also has extensive experience in the European and American markets.

Transtar’s core business activities include international import and export freight forwarding via sea and air, licensed customs clearance broking, export documentation, and third party logistics services.Transtar has a network of 14 offices located throughout Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Europe, and boasts locations in nine of the top 11 container ports of the world.

*Pictured above: Annie Meyer, Transtar Director and Asia CEO pictured with Transtar’s Asia team.

Since 2007, Melbourne-based Transtar has been actively expanding its Asian business. Its Asian bases include a regional head office in Hong Kong and Mainland offices in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Qingdao, Ningbo, Xingang (Tianjin) and Wuhan. It also has offices in Bangkok and Singapore.


Annie Meyer, Transtar Director and Asia CEO has played an integral role assisting the business in establishing its Asian operations since being appointed to her current role in 2007. Based out of Transtar’s regional head quarters in Hong Kong, Ms Meyer has been responsible for all business development in Asia and has lead an aggressive expansion plan throughout the region which now includes nine offices and a team of over 100 people. A highlight of her leadership has been the identification and promotion of talented women throughout the company, with all of Transtar’s China branches being managed by women.

The ACBA 2014 judging panel praised Transtar for its tremendous growth over the past five years and its well-planned and well-executed expansion strategy in Asia. Its innovative approach, taking advantage of logistics opportunities during the global financial crisis and a strategy over the last four years to eliminate as many third parties from its business as possible – by managing all the cargo movements from factory right through to the customer, distribution centre or the customer’s customer – have been key to the business’s success.

Transtar’s extensive footprint and sophisticated IT systems allows it to provide a unique service offering, allowing it to control and manage the movement of cargo across the entire supply chain while providing real time visibility to the customer.

Transtar has a large, diverse customer base and holds several long-term relationships with blue chip retail, wholesale, and industrial companies in Australia.

Motion Global Limited
Mailman Group
Flight Centre
Argyle Hotel Group


Winner: CPA Australia

CPA Australia is one of the world’s largest accounting bodies with a membership of more than 150,000 finance, accounting and business professionals in 121 countries across the globe, including a growing membership in China.

CPA Australia established its China operations with the opening of its Beijing Representative Office in 2002. It opened its Shanghai office in 2006 and has since set up liaison offices in Guangzhou and Macau.

The organisation’s China membership base has grown from 100 members in 2002 to 4000 today. CPA Australia is aiming to increase its Mainland China membership by a further 25 percent in 2014 – and is well on target to do so through a structured, reptutable and sustainable membership programme.

The organisation offers a range of professional services to its growing membership base in China – including expert professional training services for members as well as their employers.

CPA Australia’s core services to members include education, training, technical support and advocacy. Employers and members work together with local and international bodies to represent the views and concerns of the profession to governments, regulators, industries, academia and the general public.

The organisation’s 2012 – 2014 corporate plan focuses on: protecting the public interest; providing the world’s best member service standards; building the sustainability of the organisation; providing members and potential members with access to world-class knowledge and advocacy and building the capability of the organisation.

The Hong Kong China Division – the oldest of CPA Australia’s Greater China branches – was formally established in 1985 and has a current membership of over 11,000.

CPA Australia was praised by judges for its structured membership programme. Its sustainable expansion in China is testament to the organisation’s strong reputation in delivering excellent professional services and training programmes to its members.

The Australia China Alumni Association
The Royal District Nursing Service
Brien Holden Vision Institute


Winner: Brien Holden Vision Institute

In the early 1970s a group of researchers led by Brien Holden at the School of Optometry at the University of New South Wales began developing expertise in contact lenses – a relatively new form of vision correction at the time.

ACBA2014 Brien Holden portrait web2Since then, the group has built a reputation as one of the leading contact lens and vision correction research centres in the world and spurned a number of global education and humanitarian initiatives – including in China.

*Pictured right: Brien Holden.
In 2012 Brien Holden Vision Institute established the Australia China Centre for Optometry Research and Development (ACCORD) in Guangzhou, through a joint initiative with the Zhongshan Ophthalmic Centre of Sun Yat-sen University. The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations will encourage future cooperation in clinical and fundamental research into refractive error, particularly in the Asian context.

A key area of the Brien Holden Vision Institute expertise is in myopia – short sightedness – affecting an estimated 1.45 billion people around the world, including more than 600 million Chinese people. Brien Holding Vision Institute web 2

Myopia usually begins in childhood from around six years and onwards and can worsen until early adult years. High levels of myopia increase the risk of serious eye problems such as glaucoma or retinal detachment, which can cause permanent vision loss.

*Pictured right: A key area of the Brien Holden Vision Institute expertise is in myopia (short sightedness), which affects more than 600 million people in China.

The Brien Holden Vision Institute aims to eliminate avoidable blindness and vision impairment in China by working closely with local organisations and governments to provide eye care services to the underserved communities in China. Through human resource development (including refraction and vision screening education courses), service delivery and infrastructure development, research and social enterprise programs, the Brien Holden Vision Institute is building sustainable eye care services in China.

A further initiative which has increased the number of eye care professionals in China is the institute’s professional education program, designed to increase the knowledge and teaching skills of optometric educators and raise the standard of undergraduate optometry education. By training and certifying local educators to subsequently deliver the curriculum, the program establishes the basis for an exponential increase in appropriately skilled practitioners. Since 1998, over 800 educators and more than 12,000 practitioners have been trained under this model in major cities throughout China.

BlueScope Buildings Asia


Winner: PLACE Design Group

PLACE Design Group is a leading international planning, design and environment consultancy with offices in Australia, China and South-East Asia. Through its global offices, PLACE Design Group is committed to delivering commercially and environmentally sustainable planning and design solutions, underpinned by world-best practice, new urbanism and place-making principles.

Established in 2001 by a small team of professionals in Australia, it has since grown to a team of 180 and remains an employee- owned firm.

Since 2011, PLACE Design Group has worked on strengthening its commitment to the China market with the relocation of a number of senior design staff from its Australian offices to head up offices in Shenzhen and Chengdu. It also has offices in Shanghai and Beijing.

The Chengdu office in particular, which opened in 2011, and is headed up by former Brisbane-based senior designer Clint Wood, was chosen to service the business’s expanded growth plans in China’s second tier cities. Chengdu was chosen for its proximity to the rapidly growing south western Chinese markets and is known by the Chinese as the most liveable city in China.

“We had always wanted to go west. Chengdu has always been on the map as the fourth point on the square of China,” Mr Wood told Australia China Connections in 2013.

“We want to be close to our clients. We have the confidence to do it because we have been in China a long time and we understand the market.”

ACBA Place Design 4-Pool and Club House web 2PLACE Design Group has a committed China strategy, which includes basing the business on a regional model – so that no branch in China is more senior than another. This organisational structure allows the business to transfer information and knowledge across countries, teams and projects allowing clients to benefit from an international pool of talent and experience.

*Pictured right: PLACE Design Group’s Bund Brilliance in Chengdu.

“Having been in China for over 12 years we believe our commitment to Australia- China business relations is integral to the development of our consultancy,” said Mark Burgess, Director of PLACE Design Group and Principal for the Shanghai office at the ACBA finalists breakfast in April.

“We look forward to the continued growth and development of our industry here.”

PLACE Design Group was commended by the judging panel for its strong compliancy, steady growth in China and its long-term vision.

BlueScope Buildings Asia
WorleyParsons China
Greater Group


Winner: Boral

Boral With around 3,500 employees, Boral 
is the leading manufacturer and supplier of plasterboard-based wall, ceiling lining systems and accessories in Asia, Australasia and the Middle East.

Boral is the leading multi-country plasterboard producer in the Asia region and has 21 manufacturing sites in Asia, including China, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea, Vietnam, India, Malaysia, the Philippines and Oman. In addition to plasterboard manufacturing plants, the business also has ceiling tile plants, metal roll forming lines and facilities for the production of jointing compounds and industrial plasters as well as a Gypsum mine in Oman.

Boral was commended by the judging panel for its approach to employee relations, its commitment to providing a safe working environment for employees and its very high safety standards and records.
It was also praised for a great environmental aspect embedded in its operations, good strategy and innovations.

Boral stood out for its recycling and environmental commitments, and outstanding safety record, and the way in which the company has identified a need in the market and built on that by differentiating itself in the market.

In early 2014, Boral formed a 50-50 joint venture with USG to form USG Boral.


Homart Pharmaceuticals


Winner: Lynch Group

ACBA Lynch Group-image web 2Lynch Group started as a family business almost 100 years ago and is 100 percent Australian owned and operated, specialising in the export of Australian wildflowers throughout the world. It is the largest floral house and plant operator in the southern hemisphere and operates state of the art distribution centres throughout Australia, recently extending its global footprint with a bouquet house and distribution centre in the city of Kunming, in China’s south western Yunnan Province.

*Pictured above: Lynch Group has won the Business Excellence Award for Primary Industries for its horticultural work in Yunnan Province.

It has traditionally traded flowers between China and Australia, but through its base in Yunnan, Lynch Group now exports from China back to Australia and is aiming to increase its market share of the local Chinese floral market.

The acquisition of farmland in China has seen Lynch Group engaging directly with almost 100 farmers in Yunnan Province – leasing land from farmers and then working with them using strict Australian standards and corporate governance structures within its Chinese operating facilities. This model has seen local farmers and their communities educated and trained with Australian horticultural expertise and helped facilitate strong relationships between farmers and local government.

Lynch Group has also introduced new farming technologies and management methods to reduce the use of pesticides and equip the land for more productive reusability.

Lynch Group is recognized as a world leader in floral innovation, research and development, ensuring its design standards are parallel with overseas trends so that it continues to be seen as a leader in floral quality control and post-harvest techniques.

Lynch Group holds ISO & HACCP Quality Standard accreditation – standards it has brought with it to its China operations.

Despite a very difficult operating environment for this industry in China, Lynch Group was praised by the ACBA judging panel for its work in China beyond the main tier one and tier two cities.

Roc Oil
Sino Gas & Energy Holdings


Winner: Motion Global Limited

In 2006, three young Australian entrepreneurs from different backgrounds came together with a single goal – to setup a socially minded global company to deliver pioneering value, range and service in an industry where consumers traditionally purchased offline. In this process, they also wanted to fight poverty in some of the world’s poorest communities by providing free prescription glasses.

Substituting a lack of funding with passion, the team started from scratch in their bedrooms from Australia, Sweden and Shanghai. Working full time to support the business and making deliveries during their lunch breaks, Motion Global – an e-commerce platform for designer eyewear – was founded.

Motion Global also operates the SBG Optical Group, a leading global eyewear online retailer with websites in over 30 countries and 15 languages. It has more than 150 employees and retails the world’s top brands including Ray- Ban, Oakley, Gucci, Carrera and Tom Ford.

Through its “buy one, give one” social movement, Motion Global has donated $1.5 million worth of eyewear to people in need.

The group has operations in Germany, Italy, Mainland China and Hong Kong, Australia, America and Canada. Motion Global’s IT Innovation Lab in Shanghai, the business’s e-commerce platform, is at the forefront of online retailing software and encompasses a global sales and order management structure across desktop, mobile, tablet and augmented reality technology.

The group is dedicated to providing customers with the largest range of designer sunglasses, prescription eyewear and contact lenses. China is the group’s biggest market.

“This is an extremely amazing story with what they have achieved in such a short time in such a competitive industry,” says Shanghai- based Austrade Trade Commissioner Liu Bing, who sat on this year’s ACBA 2014 judging panel.

Motion Global has gained customers through added value services including its expanding global platform and the introduction of new technology such as its 3D Try-On Software, which allows customers to try best selling designer brands using their webcams prior to purchase.


Lynch Group
Mailman Group
Transtar International Freight
Flight Centre


Winner: Andrew Forrest

Andrew Forrest (pictured left) is the winner of this year’s Individual Recognition Award sponsored by Cheung Kong Infrastructure. This special Individual Recognition Award, sponsored by Cheung Kong Infrastructure, recognises the impact on the Australia China bilateral relationship of an individual business person in the Australia-China business community.

This year’s inaugural winner is Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest, the chairman and founder of Fortescue Metals Group.

Mr Forrest is the founder, chairman and member of the Company’s Remuneration and Nomination Committee and led the company to a $15 billion market capitalization and its status as the fourth largest global iron ore exporter. Under Mr Forrest, Fortescue has made significant investments in the Australian resources sector of more than US$15 billion.

His previous executive roles include founding Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, Deputy Chairman of Minara Resources Limited, Chairman of the Murrin Murrin Joint Venture and Chairman of Poseidon Nickel. Non- Executive roles previously included Director of the Australian Export Finance and Insurance Corporation, Director of the West Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy and President of Athletics Australia.

Mr Forrest is also the Founder and Chairman of Minderoo Foundation, Australia’s largest philanthropic organisation, which operates GenerationOne, The Australian Employment Covenant and Walk Free, a global campaign to end modern slavery. Mr Forrest is involved in numerous charitable and community service projects. He is a Councillor of the Global Citizen Commission, which will report to the United Nations General Assembly in 2016 on reforming the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 2013, he was appointed to Chair the Review of Indigenous Training and Employment Programmes on behalf of the Office of Prime Minister and Cabinet of Australia. He is Commonwealth ambassador for employment and engagement with disadvantaged communities and Chair of the Foundation of the Art Gallery of Western Australia.

Mr Forrest is an Adjunct Professor of the China Southern University and a long standing Fellow of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. He is Chairman of the Senior Business Leaders’ Forum, the leading advisory body for China and Australia’s top businesses and the principal sponsor of the Bo’ao Forum, Asia’s leading political and business forum.

Mr Forrest has extensive experience in the mining sector and has won multiple international and Australian awards.

This is the first year the ACBA’s have included an individual recognition award, which was judged by the chairmen of AustCham Shanghai, AustCham Beijing and AustCham Hong Kong and Macau and the China President of the Australia China Business Council.

“After more than 40 years of business between Australia and the China, it was thought timely, perhaps overdue, that we recognise an individual who has made a great contribution to the bilateral business relationship,” said Peter Arkell, Chairman of AustCham Shanghai.

The judges considered business people across the 40 years of trade between Australia and China.
“There are many who have made marvellous contributions and have done so over a long period,” said Mr Arkell. “This is not an Award for any single achievement, rather a Individual Recognition Award of great or outstanding contribution.”

Andrew Forrest was commended for building Fortescue Metals Group into a third force in iron ore producers with China as the core to the business strategy. The judging panel were unanimous in its view that Mr Forrest’s drive and vision delivered a business that is essentially a China-Australia centred operation, making him an exceptional example for others in the bilateral business relationship.

“From its beginnings, FMG has had an impact on many lives, through its mining operations in Australia and its customers in China. Not to forget its investors in both countries,” said Mr Arkell.

“The AustChams of Shanghai, Hong Kong & Macau and Beijing and the ACBC are delighted to recognise Andrew Forrest’s great contribution and honoured that he has accepted the Individual Recognition Award as its first recipient.”  


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