Connections with Asia

Connections with Asia

Learn how to capitalise on Australia’s connection with China

China, our largest trading partner, is dramatically transforming its economy with digitisation. So how are you capitalising on this?

The Sydney China Business Forum will help answer this question. The event will bring together more than 300 high profile entrepreneurs, government representatives and academics to discuss issues at the heart of China’s digital economy. The event, attended by Chinese and Australian startups, will also explore prospects for small businesses.

Justin Gong, who completed his tertiary education in Australia, is the co-founder and CMO of XAIRCRAFT. It specialises in agricultural RPA (remotely piloted aircraft) design, development, manufacturing and operation. During the past 10 years, Justin and his partner Peng Bin, successfully introduced this startup RPA crop-dusting service to millions of Chinese farmers and continue to expand on the global market. XAIRCRAFT operates more than 3,000 RPA every day.

Gong talked to the City about how he grew his business, what he learnt along the way and how Australian and Chinese businesses can better work together.

What was the most important learning in growing your small business into one of the world’s largest drone companies?

We spent almost 7 years looking for the right business model and the other 3 years working around it. From B2C to B2B to B2S (business to service), we realised that a good business model is the shortest route to the problems we want to solve.

For example, we want to sell our crop spray drone to Australian farmers to help them reduce their workload in the field and minimise pesticide usage. But what farmers really want is not a drone – they just want the chemicals to be delivered to the crops. So we have to change our business strategy from selling drones to providing a spray service.

It’s important to build a connection with our customers, especially as a foreign company. We have to be able to see our products in field.

Another important tip is to identify clear goals. We hold workshops every week to discuss our current mission and long-term goals, but also to help everyone find their personal direction. These collective objectives are our company’s biggest energy.

What advice would you give others looking at these markets?

Localisation is key. Understanding is the foundation of trade, so we employ local staff and consultants from the very beginning. Also, indulge your geek spirit. Perfect ideas and products that will touch your customers and audiences and meet their specific needs.

What business opportunities are coming out of China that Australian businesses need to be aware of?

As an agriculture technology company and a drone manufacturer, we see big opportunities in the field automation and the precision farming industry. Australian universities and research institutions have a variety of advanced farming technologies that are yet to be commercialised. China has a growing demand of those solutions as the young generation is moving toward city life, and farmers are getting older.

Want to learn more?

Book now to attend the Sydney China Business Forum. You will walk away with knowledge that will better equip you to meet market demands, work with Chinese businesses and attract investment.

Subscribers to the City Business e-newsletter receive 30% off standard registration costs.


Supporting businesses in Asian markets

The City is committed to supporting Sydney’s business community to benefit from new opportunities in China and other Asian growth markets.

We provide a range of talks, training and sponsorships to provide businesses with the opportunity to learn from experts about market trends and future economic opportunities. This also builds on our strong historical and cultural connections with leading Asian cities, Sydney’s Chinese business community, and partner organisations.

Our initiatives include:

  • Hosting the yearly Future Asia Business Summit during Sydney’s Chinese New Year festival. This event brings together industry and government leaders to share insights on economic opportunities in China and across Asia.
  • An economic and cultural program of events in Guangzhou from 30 May to 2 June 2016, to mark the 30th anniversary of sister city relations. The events were run in partnership with the Australia China Business Council, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney and 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art.
  • A Global Sydney marketing campaign, promoting Sydney’s economic strengths and connections with China.
  • Facilitating a series of training workshops to help local businesses grow in both domestic and international markets.
  • Sponsoring the annual Sydney China Business Forum, run by the University of Sydney's China Studies Centre.
  • Working closely with retailers to take advantage of promotional and activation opportunities during Sydney's Chinese New Year festival.
  • Sponsoring the inaugural China Australia Millennial Project in 2015, which brought together young Chinese and Australian entrepreneurs at Town Hall.
  • Providing grants to the Haymarket Chamber of Commerce to promote the Chinatown area's unique identity.
  • Producing the Asia on Your Doorstep campaign, to raise awareness about the diversity of cuisine on offer in Sydney's Chinatown and to attract visitors.


For more information, please contact:

Economic Strategy team
+61 2 9265 9333

Future Asia Business Summit 2017

The third Future Asia Business Summit was held on 23 February 2017, shortly after Sydney’s Chinese New Year Festival – the largest Lunar New Year celebration outside Asia.

The summit, brought together more than 350 industry and government leaders at Sydney Town Hall with an emphasis on strengthening Sydney’s economic relations in Asia. It focused on the world’s largest ecommerce companies arriving in Australia, Alibaba and Amazon later in 2017. The summit covered the various platforms available for engaging with consumers, regulatory challenges associated with operating in foreign markets and the influence of Sydney’s global city status.

Maggie Zhou, Managing Director of Alibaba Australia and New Zealand, gave a keynote address on the digital economy, China’s retail landscape and the power of Alibaba Group’s closed loop internet ecosystem.

Ms Zhou spoke of Australia as the next gold mine for Chinese consumers, the importance of our Asian migrant communities in bridging connections in our region and diversity as one of Sydney’s great strengths to leverage "the new retail landscape".

The following panel discussion featured 4 experts on Australia-Asia business relations:

  • Christine Holgate – CEO and Managing Director, Blackmores
  • Tsuyoshi Kawashima – CEO, NTT Communications ICT Solutions
  • Bill Evans – Westpac Chief Economist
  • David Landers – General Manager, International Operations, Austrade.

The panel discussed the power of ecommerce as a platform for global business engagement and expansion, the importance of building relationships in Asia, the impact of free trade agreements, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and how Australia’s global standing impacts on our ability to do business with the world.

View video highlights below and images from the summit.

You can also read the media release about the event.

Celebrating 30 years of the Sydney Guangzhou sister city relationship. City of Sydney 2030. Guangzhou China. Principal partner: Westpac

Last updated: Tuesday, 27 June 2017