Transnational entrepreneurs play a crucial role in bridging Australian and Chinese business capabilities, but research on this subject is limited.

The University of Sydney, in collaboration with KPMG and other organisations, conducted a study profiling Chinese Australian entrepreneurs and Australian entrepreneurs in China, focusing on their linkages within Chinese business ecosystems.

Understanding and cultivating these ecosystems is essential for Australian SMEs and entrepreneurs to expand their presence in Asia, penetrate Chinese technology industries, and attract investment.

The study also highlights the increasing importance of indirect linkages between Australia and China, emphasising the need to analyse Australia–China relationships and facilitate long-term opportunities in non-mining sectors.

New business ecosystems

Australia–China entrepreneurs, comprising two unique groups of entrepreneurs – Chinese Australian entrepreneurs and Australian entrepreneurs in China – are creating new business ecosystems and maintaining active cross-border connections with multiple stakeholders in the Australia–China space.

Their business ecosystems draw on local business links, ethnic ties, and strong cross-border connections. While their businesses are active contributors in their business ecosystems, many are also pivotal as core companies and enablers of these ecosystems.  

…there are a lot of opportunities in the electricity market in Australia, particularly because the penetration of renewable energy is not as high in the Australian market as in some of the other countries…and if we want to get to net zero, there’s a lot more investment to come…

Ben Guo
Co-founder, Genex Power

Competitive advantage in cross -border partnerships

Our study of these entrepreneurs shows that they use their local ecosystems to create new competitive advantages through the cross-border transfer of technical, commercial, and institutional knowledge between Australia and China.

Our in-depth case studies of 12 Australia–China entrepreneurs map the key strategies, technologies and participants in existing entrepreneurial ecosystems – linking Australia and China across seven industries including ecommerce, real estate, healthcare, mining, and renewable energy.

The global demand for Australian products is extremely high…I think on a national level, we need to be better at recognising the potential offered and marketing Australian products accordingly.

Livia Wang
Co-founder and Chief Brand Officer
Access Corporate Group

Similarities between transnational entrepreneurs

A comparison of the two entrepreneur groups found that they are more similar than they are different. Our survey revealed a striking similarity between the two groups in terms of age, their education level, previous work experience, and global mindset.

About the Australia-China entrepreneurs survey

We surveyed and interviewed 175 Chinese Australian entrepreneurs in Australia and Australian entrepreneurs in China, who operate business ecosystems across Australia and China. This includes entrepreneurs who export to China, buy from China, manufacture in Australia and China, conduct cross-border innovation and incubation, provide services, and invest in Australia and China.

This research is sponsored by the National Foundation for Australia China Relations in collaboration with KPMG Australia, the University of Sydney and AustCham Shanghai.

University of Sydney

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How we help transnational entrepreneurs

Our Australia China Business Practice helps Chinese businesses to invest and grow in the Australian market and supports Australian companies looking to enter China.

Our teams of Chinese and Australian professionals embrace Chinese culture and language, and possess the local knowledge required to help our clients understand and manage the many commercial and country-specific challenges facing them in Australia and China.

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