A new survey shows that Australian business leaders in China believe the Asian Century will bring a wealth of new opportunities.
The Australia China Business Perceptions Survey, conducted for Austrade and the Australian Chambers of Commerce in China, found most Australian businesses operating in China are positive about the country's economic outlook.
They believe further economic reform will create avenues for expansion, and expect greater economic and political stability following China's recent leadership transition.
Trade and Competitiveness Minister Craig Emerson, who is also assisting the Prime Minister on Asian Century Policy, said Australian companies' optimism was well-founded.
"China's shift to a consumer-driven growth model is creating huge demand for a range of high-value Australian goods and services, as well as our traditional commodity exports," Dr Emerson said.
"The Government's Asian Century Policy is all about building Australia's ability to meet this demand, helping to ensure our future prosperity."
In all, 69 per cent of survey respondents were optimistic about China's economy and 66 per cent were positive about the outlook for their own organisation within it.
Conducted by Sweeney Research, the survey found that 24 per cent of businesses were "extremely likely" to expand their existing physical presence in China, while a further 29 per cent were "very likely" to do so.
Survey respondents said their biggest challenges in China were finding skilled labour, overcoming regulatory hurdles and coping with increased price competition from rivals.
AustCham Beijing Chairman David Olsson said he was encouraged to see Australian business people taking a long-term view.
"The results confirm not only the existing depth of Australian business engagement with China but the extent of the opportunities that lie ahead," Mr Olsson said.
Australia China Business Perception Survey (Austrade) [PDF]
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