The Hon Philip Dalidakis MP - travel report - China, May 2017

MinisterThe Hon. Philip Dalidakis MP
PortfolioMinister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade
Countries visitedChina
Date of travel12 - 22 May 2017
No. of official travel days
(including day of departure and day of return)
Number of accompanying ministerial staff1
Accompanied by spouse in an official capacityNo
Funding for the overseas trip was paid by (list department/s or agency)Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
Air fares$14,272.00*
Other expenses (includes surface travel and travel allowances)$4,540.00*
Travel cost for minister and staff$26,798.00*

*The above costs are not final and complete

Purpose of travel

I travelled to China to lead two distinct trade missions and also meet with high level government, industry, academia and media leaders across Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

China is Victoria's largest two-way trading partner worth more than $23.3 billion and contributing to all of the state's key industry sectors including international education, technology and food and fibre.

Leading the trade missions supported Victorian companies' access key decision makers and open doors to new opportunities at the highest level.

The first trade mission supported 33 Victorian food and beverage companies' exhibit at SIAL. The second mission supported 10 companies from the Latrobe Valley representing the advanced manufacturing, professional services, meat and dairy sectors explore new opportunities to make inroads into the dynamic China market. This mission was in effort to boost the region's economy, grow jobs and expand businesses.

Benefits of travel to the State of Victoria

Over the course of the visit, I collectively participated in more than 25 significant meetings, events, showcases and media interviews. 

Whilst my department is still in the process of evaluating the two trade missions, to date, Victorian companies have already reported the following outcomes as a result of participating at SIAL:

  • immediate export sales - $3,848,000
  • anticipated additional sales over a 1-12 month period - $19,500,000
  • anticipated additional sales over a 13 - 24 month period  - $65,736,000
  • Expected total outcomes from SIAL 2017 over a 24 month period - $89,084,000.

Meetings to connect Victorian business to trade and investment opportunities 

  • Whilst in China, I took opportunity to witness the signing of the memorandums of understanding (MoU) which will provide more Chinese students access to Victoria's world-class international education system. Building on Victoria's close and enduring relationship with China, the education sector remains a priority for the Victorian Government. The two significant agreements were signed between Victoria's Swinburne University of Technology and two leading Chinese universities.
  • Swinburne University and Jimei University agreed on a joint program that will see Chinese students spend the last two years of their four year course studying in Victoria and offer Jimei academics the opportunity to complete an English language course.
  • Swinburne University also signed an agreement with Tongji University which will see students receive exemption credit points when studying a Bachelor of Science (Physics) degree and study their last two years at Swinburne.
  • Together with the Premier, I met with the Managing Director of Swisse Wellness based in China. The meeting reaffirmed Biostime's commitment to growing the Swisse Wellness brand both locally and into mainland China through an aggressive online and offline retail strategy. Post the meeting, I joined the Managing Director to launch a retail activation in a partner store and witness first-hand the significant interest for the brand by Chinese consumers.
  • In Hangzhou, I met with the Executive Chairman and addressed more than 20 members of the Zhejiang Fintech Association on Victoria's advanced fintech ecosystem, as well as investment opportunities in the sector. This provided a great opportunity to explore areas of partnership and potential joint research. My department is currently liaising with the Association to develop a program in Melbourne, so that the members can meet Victoria's leaders and entrepreneurs with relation to fintech and block-chain.
  • In Guangzhou, I met with the Vice President and Senior Director, International of VIP.Com, an online e-commerce concentrating on lifestyle brands for women with more than 300 million active users. The meeting discussed's Australian strategy and ways in which Victorian brands can partner with the platform to reach new customers. As a result, my department will work with to support their participation in upcoming inbound trade missions and also use their upcoming Australian Roadshow event to brief more Victorian businesses about opportunities with the platform.
  • In Shenzhen I hosted a luncheon for innovation and technology companies. More than 30 guests from both Australian and Chinese organisations gathered to discuss Victoria's capabilities in ICT, fintech, blockchain and cyber security with a number of the companies looking at Victoria as a potential investment destination.
  • During my visit to Hong Kong I met with the Managing Director for Sales and Operation at Google Hong Kong to discuss investment, innovation and technology trends across Asia and opportunities for Victoria.

Meetings to build the skills and capability of Victorian businesses and leaders 

  • Together with the CEO and Executive Director of AusCham Shanghai, we met with trade mission participants from the Latrobe Valley to brief them on how to effectively engage and do business in China.  
  • Following the launch of Alibaba's headquarters (HQ) for Australia New Zealand in Melbourne earlier this year, I took the opportunity to visit their global HQ in Hangzhou and lead a delegation of approximately 80 enterprises on the tour. The delegation included Victorian trade mission participants and Australian businesses taking part in a National Australia Bank (NAB) agribusiness tour of China. As part of the visit, we were briefed on the evolution of Alibaba which is now the largest retail commerce company in the world, with Gross Merchandise Volume in 2016 at $485 billion.  Victorian businesses benefited by receiving presentations on the Group's ecosystem and recent trends on China's e-commerce landscape that can assist their businesses make inroads into the China market. With approximately 1,300 Australian brands across their platforms, the Victorian Government is keen to work with Alibaba to ensure Victorian brands are well represented and maximizing opportunities for export growth. As part of my visit, I also had a meeting with Mr Scott Ni Senior Director for Corporate Development to discuss future strategy and ecommerce opportunities across other markets including South East Asia.
  • The seventh cohort of Victoria's Hamer Scholars is currently studying in China. Whilst in Nanjing, I took the opportunity to meet with 10 students currently studying at universities in Jiangsu under the scholarship that strengthens Victoria's Asia connection. More than 200 Victorians have now participated in the Hamer Scholarships Program across Asia since its launch in 2012, 115 of those in China, with alumni now leaders in business throughout the region thanks to the cultural, business and people skills they gained during the program.

Events to showcase and promote Victoria's world class industries and excellence 

  • In Shanghai, I was interviewed by Global Broadway, a TV program broadcasted on Shanghai Media Group (SMG) Business Channel. SMG Group is the main business channel in Shanghai and second largest in China which broadcasts to 50 million viewers. Global Broadway is a new program promoting investment opportunities in Australia. There are 50 planned episodes over three years showcasing different investment opportunities in Australia with Victoria taking the majority of these. My interview was aired on Saturday 15 July at 8pm prime time during the third episode. In this interview I promoted the strong bilateral trade relationship between China and Victoria.  
  • As part of my visit I attended the AFL Asia Shanghai Cup, which formed part of the Australian Chamber of Commerce - Shanghai (Austcham Shanghai) Australia showcase. AFL Asia is in its fourth year and has a mandate for "growing AFL in Asia and have established a range of teams throughout Asia to promote AFL. In this year's Shanghai Cup, 14 teams from 12 countries participated in the tournament which was eventually won by the Shanghai Tigers.  As a guest at the event, I had the opportunity to award the winner's trophy for all divisions and also meet local Chinese students studying VCE at Ivanhoe Grammar at their Shanghai Campus to encourage them to consider furthering their study at Victorian universities. The event also provided a great platform to meet with many Australian business and community leaders to discuss the challenges and opportunities for Victorian's living in China.  
  • I supported 7 Victorian companies exhibiting at the Taste of Australia Festival, held at the entrance of the historical Jiangwan Stadium, prior to the first international AFL Premiership game played in Shanghai. Victorian companies comprised half the Festival. This was an opportunity to promote Victoria as a tourist destination and place to do business and study, as well as showcase various Australian food and beverage companies.  
  • I led the SIAL trade mission which supported 33 Victorian companies exhibiting on the Victorian Government stand, with an additional four companies in attendance.  SIAL is China's largest food and beverage exhibition. SIAL 2017 attracted approximately 3,200 exhibitors from 67 countries and 101,134 visitors over three days. The mission successfully introduced participating Victorian companies to trade opportunities in the China market and provided a platform for emerging companies to promote their products. As a direct result of the trade mission, the Victorian company participants obtained total export sales outcomes over a 0-24 month period of $89,084,000.  
  • In Nanjing, I together with the CEO of the National Basketball League (NBL) met withthe Director General, Jiangsu Sports Bureau and witnessed Victoria's first basketball match against a Chinese team. The game provided a great backdrop to open dialogue around Victoria sharing its world-leading expertise in sporting venue design and sports medicine, science and technologies and positioning the state to be a major contributor to China's Five Year Sports Development Plan.  
  • In Hong Kong, I hosted an event which brought together more than 50 dynamic business leaders who are alumni of Victorian Universities. At the event I reiterated the importance of education in fostering greater understanding of each other and strengthening people to people ties. The event highlighted the important role our alumni play in becoming unofficial ambassadors for our State in promoting Victoria as a great place to study, live and work.

Meetings to strengthen Government to Government connections and networks 

  • In Nanjing, I met with the Jiangsu Department of Science and Technology to finalise round one winners of the Victoria-Jiangsu Program for Technology and Innovation Research and Development (VIC-JS TECH) grants. This initiative will help develop new technologies that will change the way industries operate across not only our two jurisdictions but across the world.  
  • In Shenzhen, I met with the Deputy Secretary General of Shenzhen Municipal People's Government to discuss areas of mutual importance including large scale urban development projects and innovation and technology. Also in attendance at the meeting was senior representatives from Nanshan Municipal Government and OCT Group (developers) who are currently planning the development of the Three Rivers Waterfront project.  I took the opportunity to highlight Victoria's world-class expertise in exporting services around liveable and smart cities and my department is currently exploring follow up activity to assess whether local companies can be involved in the significant development projects.  
  • In Guangzhou I met with the Australian Consul General to receive a market briefing on opportunities arising for Victorian businesses in South China. In particular we discussed areas of mutual benefit for strengthening the trade relationship between Australia and China in key sectors where Victoria can take a lead role including: education, financial services, tourism, innovation, health and aged care, infrastructure, agribusiness, food and e-commerce.  
  • I met with the Under Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Bureau to discuss areas of mutual interest and complementarity including innovation, the start-up ecosystem and economic development more broadly. Our relevant departments will continue to work together to explore areas for collaboration in key industries including: fintech, artificial intelligence, health tech and smart cities.

Next Steps / Follow Up

With China our number one export market and largest source of international students, my visit to China reaffirmed the significant opportunities for continued collaboration and partnership with China across trade, education and technology.

Digital disruption and ecommerce presents many new and exciting prospects for Victorian businesses and my department continues to work closely with both local companies and Chinese platforms to realise these benefits in new and innovative ways.

As part of this visit, I was also able to invite and attract a number of business leaders to attend some of our upcoming major hallmark inbound trade missions and events ensuring the relationships developed continue to be fostered and that potential investors, buyers and influencers get to witness Victoria first hand.

Page last updated: 23 August 2017