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Australian business exposed in China

Australian business exposed in China article image
The 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China runs from May to October this year, but what does it mean for Australia?
Many of you might recall a time more than 20 years ago when families across Australia would make the pilgrimage to Brisbane for Expo 88, when the World's Fair resided in the newly created Southbank area from April 30 to October 30, 1988. That's about as much exposure as Australians have had to the World's Fair concept, until this year, when Shanghai, China, hosts the 2010 version.
The publicity surrounding this year's World's Fair has been building for at least 12 months now, and it's completely justified says Christopher Wright, Austrade's senior trade commissioner in China. "This is going to be bigger than any previous expo. The Chinese government is expecting in the vicinity of 70 million guests to go through the park during the six months of the expo and the Australian government is expecting around a 10th of that to go through the Australian Pavilion, that’s 7 million people."
Themed 'Better City, Better Life' to represent hope for better living in future urban environments, the 2010 World Expo will host the international community and become a platform for ideas on future policy making, urban strategies and sustainable development.
The Australian Pavilion will celebrate Australian capability, innovation and achievement, with the Federal Government’s $83 million investment in the project acknowledging the role China will play in Australia's future.
"The expo is designed to showcase the nations of the world. Obviously national leaders will be there, business people will be there, but the people who attend will mostly be ordinary citizens," says Wright. "The Australian Pavilion provides the environment in which the Chinese, in particular, will get to experience the story of Australia and get a sense of what it is to be Australian."
Many Australian companies have also been involved in the lead-up to the expo, he adds, both for the expo in general and the set-up of the Australian Pavilion. The contributions of organisations such as BlueScopeSteel (roof), NSW TAFE (volunteer plan) and Urban Art Projects (entrance sculptures) will be visible everywhere, while the Australian Pavilion will showcase everything from our expertise in interior design to our unique food and wine.
While not a trade show, the expo is nevertheless important for business. The program contains more than 200 events including business seminars, cultural performances, and the international launch of Building Brand Australia. Austrade are running themed business events for specific industries, and the sponsors, including corporate and State Government sponsors, will also have their own events.
"If you're doing business in China, if you have customers in China, then the Australian Pavilion provides a magnificent hospitality opportunity for you with your clients. Buy a ticket and invite your customers to come with you to visit the expo," Wright suggests. "Visit the Australian Pavilion and give your customer an experience of Australia."

The business end

The Shanghai World Expo is not a trade show, but as its name implies, the China International Small and Medium Enterprises Fair (CISMEF) is. Australia is the country of honour at this year's event, which occurs at the Guangzhou International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Guangdong from September 15-18. "We are running an Australian Pavilion at CISMEF, modelled thematically along the lines of the pavilion at the World Expo, and this provides a direct platform for small to medium-sized companies that perhaps haven't already done business with China to meet with potential partners," says Christopher Wright, Austrade's senior trade commissioner in China. He says businesses new to China can investigate whether they can gain traction in the market and, "maybe meet people who could be distributors or agents, and start making sales". See www.cismef.com.cn or visit www.austrade.gov.au to find out how to participate.

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