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Austrade:China exports largest growth market this century

10 July, 2007

With China predicted to soon occupy one third of global GDP, Austrade, the Australian Government’s export promotion agency said it is now imperative for Australian businesses to include China as part of any export strategy.

Austrade’s Chief Economist Tim Harcourt said the economic rise of China has been remarkable and is fuelling the agency’s drive to increase awareness about its export potential.

"The Chinese economy has been growing at a rapid rate. It’s currently 12 per cent of world GDP (measured on a purchasing power parity basis) and if it keeps up 10 plus percentage growth rates over the next 10 years or so, it will be as big as the US economy within the decade, and twice as large by 2050,” Harcourt said.

“And China’s strength in the world economy goes beyond just its GDP. In terms of global demand, China accounts for something like 70 per cent of total demand for key resources driving a commodity boom in economies like Australia.

“China is our second largest export destination – accounting for almost $24 billion in exports – and over 3800 exporters sell to China. Australian exporters will be “hugging the Panda” for a long time,” he said.

In Australia to promote China as an export destination for Australian businesses, Austrade’s Shanghai-based Senior Trade Commissioner, Christopher Wright said China’s rapid growth means it will buy more and more from Australia to power its engines of growth. 

“Exposure to China will grow and it’s important for Australian businesses to understand and link into the realities of this change,” Wright said.

“I would urge every Australian company to ask the question and satisfy itself it has arrived at an answer – what does China mean for our business?  If an Australian business cannot do this, it risks missing out on the largest growth market this century, losing market position to competitors and losing cost base to competitors,” he said.

Wright is determined to allay fears that some Australian business people hold that lament China as a difficult market to succeed.

“China is sometimes seen as difficult because people only know half the story.  Business is no more difficult or easy in China than in most export market destinations,” he said.

“Companies that have not exported find degrees of challenge in entering new markets driving the degrees of difference between the target market and their own domestic market.

“Many Australian businesses choose New Zealand as a first export destination because it’s most like our own market.  That’s fine and good for business, but does not offer the growth potential of a market like China.  Neither are developments in smaller markets going to impact hugely on the Australian domestic market in the way that China already is,” he said.

Wright believes the key to export success in China is advice.  “Seek it early – seek it often,” he said.

“Austrade works with major Australian law firms, accountants and banks to ensure exporters are able to construct sensible, commercial strategies for China,” Wright said.