Connections with Asia

Connections with Asia

Tourists from China




  • Spent a record $1.2 billion in 2012
  • Our leading source of international visitors
  • Expected to reach 600,000 a year by 2021
  • 303,000 visitors to NSW in 2012

China Partnerships Forum

We hosted a forum on 16 September 2014 highlighting Sydney’s connections with China, which included key findings from the Lord Mayor’s business and cultural mission in May (see below).

The panel stressed the need for long-term strategic partnerships between all levels of industry and government in NSW as an important way to successfully engage with China and mutually benefit our communities.

The panel (pictured, left to right) included: Professor Ken Maher, UNSW Faculty of Built Environment, HASSELL Fellow and National Councillor, Australian Institute of Architects; Sandra Chipchase, Chief Executive Officer, Destination NSW; Hannah Jamieson,  General Manager Strategic Marketing, Business Events Sydney; Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore; Peter Kerr,  Executive Director, NSW Asialink; Amanda Chadwick, Executive Director, NSW Trade & Investment; and Professor William Purcell, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International), UTS.

The panel (pictured, left to right) included: Professor Ken Maher, UNSW Faculty of Built Environment, HASSELL Fellow and National Councillor, Australian Institute of Architects; Sandra Chipchase, Chief Executive Officer, Destination NSW; Hannah Jamieson, General Manager Strategic Marketing, Business Events Sydney; Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore; Peter Kerr, Executive Director, NSW Asialink; Amanda Chadwick, Executive Director, NSW Trade & Investment; and Professor William Purcell, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International), UTS.

All panellists agreed that the City of Sydney has a significant part to play in building and extending the relationship with China and collaboration at all levels is central to forging closer ties to Australia’s leading trading partner. 

Lord Mayor promotes Sydney in China

Lord Mayor Clover Moore joined a business delegation to Beijing in May 2014, as part of an international campaign to promote Sydney’s commercial and creative talents. 

The industry mission in China, led by the NSW Government, included Destination NSW, Screen NSW, the Australian Institute of Architects (NSW), the University of Technology, Sydney and the City of Sydney. The mission showcased emerging and established creative and digital businesses based in Sydney and NSW, highlighting the city’s status as Australia’s economic powerhouse and gateway to Asia.

Thousands of Chinese and international delegates attended the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) staged by the Municipality of Beijing. Speaking on the opening day of the trade fair, the Lord Mayor urged delegates to visit Sydney and emphasised the city’s role as the nation’s leading services economy.

Highlighting the city’s innovative and future-focused services in higher education, screen production, architecture and tourism, she said that Sydney’s vibrant creative and digital sectors were ideally placed to provide professional services to international companies across Asia.

Digital businesses, for example, have rapidly become central to Sydney’s thriving economy. The city is home to 41% of Sydney’s information, communication and technology (ICT) employees. This sector is one of the fastest-growing in Sydney, increasing by 23 per cent since 2006. Across the city centre, there are nearly 25,000 people working in digital businesses, making it the third-largest industry in Sydney.

The Lord Mayor visited the trade fair in Beijing during a broader business trip that included visits to other significant Chinese cities to consolidate the strong links these cities have already forged with Sydney. She met with senior government officials in Sydney’s sister city of Guangzhou, and also travelled to Shenzhen, Xi’an and Wuhan to promote business and cultural relationships and to work on Sydney’s annual Chinese New Year Celebrations – the biggest in the world outside Asia.

Sydney has long had close connections with China – more than 60% of Chinese business visitors to Australia come to Sydney. China’s trade with the Sydney area is estimated at around $10 billion a year and increasing. People of Chinese ancestry make up nearly 10% of the city’s population and over half of all Australians born in China live in Sydney.

The Lord Mayor then travelled to Singapore to join Mayors from other Australian and overseas capital cities at the 2014 World Cities Summit from 1 to 4 June where she spoke about the city’s reputation as one of the world’s most livable and sustainable cities. 

Stronger economic, social and cultural ties

To ensure Sydney remains actively engaged with Asia and China in particular, the City works with a range of key partners to present forums and programs that strengthen our connections in the region.

The City's Chinese New Year Festival hosts a business forum each year to establish and develop trade and investment links between Sydney and the designated partner city or province in China.

The visiting delegation meets with officials from the State Government, the City and local business community representatives to exchange commercial prospects and build networks. The forum has been held 6 times since 2008 with delegations coming to Sydney from, Shaanxi (2008), Henan (2009), Chongqing (2010), Hubei (2011), Chengdu (2012) and Shenzen (2013). The next forum is scheduled to take place in 2015.

China Connect

We run workshops specifically designed to help retail, hospitality and tourism businesses engage successfully with Chinese visitors to Sydney. 'China Connect' increases knowledge of cultural sensitivities, expectations and preferences of Chinese customers.

Creating cultural exchanges

The Chinese New Year Festival's twilight parade is the highlight of the festival in Sydney that continues to grow with increasing interest from local community groups each year. Overall there were 2,692 performers among 103 groups in 2013 – an increase of 30 groups from the previous year.

The City provides cultural opportunities for local artists to take part in the festival including lion dancing, eye-dotting ceremonies, Blessing of the Water, taking part in the twilight parade and the Chinese New Year markets.

Supporting and promoting Chinatown

The City provides a business precinct grant to the Haymarket Chamber of Commerce and street banners to promote the Chinatown area's unique identity.

Asia On Your Doorstep is a month long dining experience that has grown significantly with 65 businesses in Chinatown participating in 2012.

The City also provides support to the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney through its Sydney China Business Forum.

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Last updated: Thursday, 18 September 2014