China and Australia Opportunities – 30 years of Progress

Chin Communications marked its start of operations in 1992 with the introduction of email and soon after the arrival of software to type Chinese (previously handwritten and laboriously typeset from draws and draws of Chinese characters)! It was a revolution.

For the next 30 years Chin has followed and supported the trajectory of Australia’s love affair with China and was part of the action almost from the start. Here are some highlights:

Taking Aussie beer to China – Fosters (Carlton and United Breweries) set up 3 joint ventures starting in 1993 and ending in 2006 when it sold the final Shanghai one. As well as translation support, Chin provided culture and language training.

Selling LNG to China – a 25-year contract worth up to A$25 billion in export income for Australia. PM John Howard described it as “Australia’s largest single export deal.”

Supporting Australian insurance companies to consummate their deals with China – winning insurance licences to operate in China.  National Mutual and Colonial Mutual, as they were then, courted Chinese during the 90s to win the coveted prize. Colonial won the first licence, but French firm Axa, which had merged with National Mutual, also received a licence in 1999.  Chin was active in supporting the drive providing interpreting, translation and language training for much of the 1990s.

Improving the health of Chinese started with Australian dairy in the 1990s and the market is now worth over $1 billion per year to Australia. In 1993 there was just $2 million of dairy exports to China. There is a lot of upside here still. China is the world’s second-largest dairy market after the US and the world’s largest one by dairy imports – 90 billion USD and nearly 28 million tons of products consumed in 2020 alone (daxue consulting).

Chin is a dairy translation expert having provided services to Dairy Australia since 1999 – including its 20+ year dairy scholarship program. Since the early 1990s, Chin has supported dairy manufacturers with quality assurance and label translations as well as ongoing marketing and technical translation services. With an average Chinese consuming 13 kilograms of dairy every year (only one-third of the global average), there is room for much more. Dairy manufacturers please take note!

Australian foods loved by Chinese have grown to include dairy, seafood, fruit, meat, chocolates, nuts and grains, coffee – and even tea. It seems anything is possible.  The Chinese audience loves recipe videos which we have been subtitling to make them accessible. The social media Red platform has proven a good promotional tool for our clients.

The Chinese may not have taken to Aussie beer, but other beverages have burgeoned including wine. Penfolds has been a continuing story for Chin – once owned by Fosters and finally a jewel in the Treasury Wine Estates stable. The crowning glory for Chin was the first ever translation and production of the Chinese version of Penfolds’ “Rewards of Patience” book in 2013. It proved to be a wonderful gift to Chinese clients.

More recently foreign beauty products have become popular in China and Chin has helped educate Aussie manufacturers about their marketing materials and imagery and delivered word perfect content.

The growth of Chinese social media has been a vital channel to inform and promote and Aussie firms have embraced WeChat and Red in particular for both domestic and China markets.

Finally, the Australia-China Free Trade Agreement marked the zenith of Australia’s relationship with China in 2016 and was ten years in the making.  Australian exporters have benefitted since – some now with zero tariffs. Chin’s team supported the negotiations from day one.

Some politicians have recently fallen out of love with China, or are using it as a political point scorer. We’re confident that Australians can see through this. Australian products remain popular and business relationships continue despite the current political problems. Many opportunities exist for new products or offerings in the China market. As Australia’s largest trading partner, it is critical that we keep in touch with our Chinese stakeholders and customers. Will there ever be a better market for our goods and services?