Shanghai Free Trade Zone Creates Opportunities for Australian Business
Recent developments in one of China’s most important international business hubs, Shanghai, have created business opportunities for Australian companies wishing to expand their presence in China.
The China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, commonly known as the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (SFTZ) has only recently been launched on 29 September, 2013. Located in the Pudong district of Shanghai municipality, one of the first initiatives of SFTZ has been the establishment of China’s National Exhibition and Trading Centre (NETC).
Although still undergoing renovations, once complete the NETC will showcase signature products from around the world. As a founding member of NETC, Australia has established the Australian National Exhibition and Trading Centre (ANETC), which is an entire floor dedicated to exhibiting Australian products and services. This permanent exhibition will become a centralised trading venue for wholesalers from every region of China to source genuine Australian products. ANETC will also organise in-house trade fairs and road shows around China.
One section of NETC, the International Wine Centre, is catering to the rising appetite of China’s middle class for wine products by exhibiting exclusive wines. Although China is the largest export market in Asia for the Australian wine industry, this market is still dominated by European countries and there are plenty of opportunities for Australian winemakers to increase their presence and market share.
Speaking at a recent Australia China Business Council event, Dr Heling Shi, President of AusChina Investment Management (ACIM) and Associate Professor in Economics at Monash University, spoke about the significant opportunities NETC and other economic reforms by the Chinese government will create for Australian businesses.
Under the SFTZ, six services sectors have been opened for private (including foreign) investment, signalling a heretofore unprecedented level of economic liberalisation by the Chinese government. These sectors include financial services, shipping services, business services, professional services, cultural and social services. Further details can be found in the State Council’s officially published plan for the Shanghai Free Zone.
Dr Shi said that ANETC represents an innovative approach to promoting Australia’s exports to China. By taking a lease at ANETC, Australian companies can access the fast growing Chinese market without going through the complex procedure of registering a company in China, finding and renovating an office, and appointing an overseas representative for marketing.