Tailored exchange program means business

21 March 2017

Chinese and Australian business people are placed into companies with relevant business interests to foster networks and create commercial opportunities.

Participants staning outside a building
Participants of the Victoria Jiangsu Placement Program from China’s Jiangsu Province visited Australia for a series of business placements with Victorian companies, allowing them build skills and develop new business networks. Credit: Alan Odgers (Building Leadership Simulation Centre).

The Victoria Jiangsu Business Placement Program (the Program) is an initiative of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Jiangsu Federation of Industry and Commerce taking participants from China’s Jiangsu Province to Victoria, Australia, to build skills, gain valuable experience and fast-track relationships that otherwise might take decades to develop.

The inbound component of the program, where Chinese businesspeople visit Victoria, is divided into four modules: Business Coaching; Business Placement; Industry Visits; and Victorian Tourism. Participants engage in a series of business placements over two days of the program. They are hosted by local Victorian companies, welcomed into the local business, and discuss with their host the workings of both companies. Many are able to meet the organisation’s staff, view operations and understand how the business works within the local market.

Making the business placements relevant to the participating business is fundamental to the success of the Program. The kinds of placements depend entirely on the objectives of the incoming company.

For example, a participating chemical company was interested in meeting local Victorian chemical manufacturers with the aim of introducing their products into the company’s product lines in China.

Another participating company, specialising in building material manufacturing, met a local Victorian property and construction company to better understand their complementarity and future collaboration.

A third participating company, specialising in electrical componentry, met with a local switchboard manufacturer and they will now work together on a referral basis. This means the Chinese company will refer their fellow Chinese customers developing commercial property in Australia to this company for reliable, locally sourced switchboards.

The inbound Program launched in February 2016 while a second group of incoming businesspeople undertook the program in November of the same year. A total of 15 businesspeople have participated in the program to date allowing them to safely and rapidly learn how to deal with the Australian business environment for a fraction of the time, cost and risk of an individual approach.

There is also an outbound component, which is a China business immersion experience tailored to individual businesses. This program gives businesses a competitive edge when it comes to doing business with and in China. The crux of the program is the Business Placement module. This module carefully matches participants with organisations appropriate to their business’ commercial interests to form relationships with people from their industry who are interested in exploring partnership, investment and collaboration opportunities.

Three successful delegations have participated in the outbound version of the Program with many securing ongoing partnerships and commercial relationships in Jiangsu Province. The initial signs for the inbound program are promising. One participant of the February trip is considering funding a piece of Australian research to commercialise its aged care technology.

Another promising development occurred in the most recent November delegation with one participant now considering various investment opportunities, with a focus on chemical engineering and manufacturing.

By strictly vetting the kinds of companies that are accepted into the program, the Victorian Chamber of Commerce ensures that all participating companies have the right capabilities, are well aligned and ready to assume the opportunities the program presents. It is tailored to each individual business, and the meetings secured for Victorian businesses are customised to individual needs, which has greater potential for tangible outcomes than more traditional, one-size-fits-all approaches.

Based on the positive participant feedback and popularity of the Program to date, it is set to continue into 2017. The placement program has been funded with the assistance of the Australia-China Council, established by the Australian Government in 1978 to promote mutual understanding and foster people-to-people relations between Australia and China.

Last Updated: 21 March 2017