Setting up or working for an Australian brand in China

Advance, an organization that connects the global Australian Diaspora, recently interviewed Maria Liu, the General Manager of ANZ’s Beijing branch who talked about her leadership ethos, the opportunities for Australian businesses in Asia and what it is like working for an Australian brand in China.

ANZ has continued to expand its footprint over the past two decades and remains one of Australia’s largest investors in China with successful partnerships with the Bank of Tianjin and the Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank.

Liu herself noted that:

In order for us to grow successfully in China, we focus on utilising local knowledge and the majority of our team is local. Our timelines and targets are continually reviewed, and we are more Asian in our approach to business than Australian. It is vital to see the company through local eyes and speaking the same language as your clients and customers.

When asked what advice she would give to Australian businesses looking to tap into the Chinese market, Liu suggested:

First you need to have a clear and focused strategy. Make sure you know your timeframe, financials, what you want your social profile to be, which people you want to use – if you get all that right the sky is the limit in China. Follow the tried and tested ‘Who, What, Where, When, and How’ approach.

Finally and when asked where she would encourage entrepreneurial Australians to start in Asia, Liu recommended:

In terms of industry, those that currently have a significant strength would be; education agriculture, investment, wine. I would recommend working along these industry sectors and using your suppliers and trade partners to gain local knowledge which is crucial to better understanding how business works in China.

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