In a sign of the growing influence of China on the Australian economy, Chinese visitors have for the first time become the largest inbound visitor market, while firms expanding into China are being urged to “drink tea”.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo pointed to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) that showed a 13.2 per cent surge in the number of Chinese visitors to Australia, reaching 1.39 million in the year to February 2018.
That eclipsed the 1.36 million visitors from across the ditch over the same period.
“China has been Australia’s most valuable inbound tourism market since 2011, with visitors spending a record $10.4 billion in the year ending December 2017,” Mr Ciobo said in a statement.
“This growth is set to continue, with China’s increased prosperity forecast to fuel another trebling of numbers over the next decade to 3.9 million by 2026-27.
Meanwhile, Australian businesses looking to the reverse by entering the Chinese market are being urged to drink tea as a means of breaking into this booming market.
“While we all like to do business with people we trust, the reality is that the Chinese have mastered the art of building and maintaining trust through long term relationships. They like to get to know the people they do business with,” said David Thomas, head of the Australian China SME Association.
“In my experience, this involves taking ‘three cups of tea’. While a simple approach, it usually works.
“While I use a cup of tea as a metaphor, meeting and doing business with the Chinese does involve drinking lots of tea - so in many respects, tea is the active ingredient in building a good solid relationship.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.