Behind the headlines: Why Australian companies are still doing business with China - Report launch

December 07 2021

From farmers to miners to cancer care providers, big companies to small entrepreneurs, Australian business engagement with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is deeper and more diverse than commonly appreciated.  Yet after having long urged Australian businesses to take advantage of the PRC market, particularly since the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) was enacted in 2015, more recently Canberra has been urging caution and emphasising the importance of diversification. Despite this, the value of two-way trade over the past 12 months reached a record high of A$267 billion.

In a new UTS:ACRI report, Behind the headlines: Why Australian companies are still doing business with China, Glenda Korporaal, UTS:ACRI Adjunct Industry Fellow and columnist for The Australian, talks directly with a range of industry executives and consultants at the forefront of Australian business engagement with the PRC.

How closely is risk monitored and how have risk assessments changed? How does geopolitical risk stemming from tensions between Canberra and Beijing rate compared with other challenges businesses face, both in the PRC and elsewhere? How are the merits of  diversification balanced against the lucrative opportunities the PRC market can offer?

The Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS:ACRI) hosted a webinar with report author Glenda Korporaal; Kristy Carr, Chief Executive Officer of Bubs Australia Limited; and Dr Merriden Varrall, UTS:ACRI Advisory Board member and Director of the Australia Geopolitics Hub at KPMG, on a panel moderated by Professor Tim Harcourt, UTS:ACRI Research Associate and Industry Professor and Chief Economist at the UTS Institute for Public Policy and Governance (IPPG), to discuss these questions and more. This discussion was followed by audience Q&A.

Time: 10.30am - 11.30am AEDT


About the speakers

Glenda Korporaal OAM

Glenda Korporaal is an Adjunct Industry Fellow at the Australia-China Relations Institute, University of Technology Sydney (UTS:ACRI).

Ms Korporaal is a Sydney based journalist with The Australian newspaper specialising in business, financial affairs and international relations. She is a former London, Washington and New York correspondent of The Australian Financial Review (AFR) and was the first woman deputy editor of the AFR (1986-1988).

She has been business editor of The Bulletin magazine, editor of The Australian’s monthly business magazine, The Deal, and associate editor (business) of The Australian.

She has a strong interest in Asia, particularly China, since her first visit to the People's Republic of China (PRC) on a 'farm study tour' in 1978. She was the China correspondent for The Australian in 2018 and 2019. She has lived and worked in Hong Kong (2001-2003) and Singapore (1998-1999).

She has had a strong interest in the Olympics having covered Games in Atlanta (1996), Nagano (1998), Sydney (2000), Athens (2004), Beijing (2008) and London (2012).

She is the author of several books including Making Magic. The Marion Mahony Griffin Story, An Olympic Life (with Kevan Gosper), The Bid. How Australia won the 2000 Games (with Rod McGeoch), The AARNet Story, 20 years of the internet in Australia, and Yankee Dollars. The Story of Australian Investment in the US.

She holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and a Master of Arts (Economics) George Washington University, Washington DC.

She was awarded an OAM for her contribution to print journalism in the Australia Day honours of January 2019.

Kristy Carr

Kristy Carr is the Chief Executive Officer of Bubs Australia Limited and holds a Bachelor of Business Degree (Queensland University of Technology). She has a proven track record of leading and building successful brands and businesses spanning Australia and Asia Pacific over the past 25 years. Mrs Carr’s passion is in creating and developing new business opportunities that not only make a difference in the world we live in today, but also closely identify with emerging global consumer trends. Mrs Carr has lived and worked in Hong Kong for over a decade and travelled extensively throughout Asia for both business and leisure. It is with this experience that she founded Bubs when on maternity leave with her first of three daughters in 2005.

Merriden Varrall

Dr Merriden Varrall is a UTS:ACRI Advisory Board member and Director of the Australia Geopolitics Hub at KPMG, where she provides business-relevant insights into global, regional and local geopolitical trends.

From 2014- 2018, Dr Varrall was the Director of the Lowy Institute’s East Asia Program, where she is a non-resident fellow. Before joining the Institute, Dr Varrall was the Assistant Country Director and Senior Policy Advisor at United Nations Development Programme, China, where she worked on China’s role in the world, focusing on its international development cooperation policy. Prior to that she worked for the Australian Government Treasury and the Department of Family and Community Services.

Dr Varrall spent almost eight years living and working in China, including lecturing in foreign policy at the China Foreign Affairs University and conducting fieldwork for her doctoral research. Dr Varrall has a PhD examining Chinese foreign policy from Macquarie University, Sydney, and the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. She has a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from the Australian National University, and completed her undergraduate studies in international studies at the University of Technology Sydney.

Dr Varrall is a sought-after commentator on geopolitics, East Asia, China’s foreign policy, and Australia’s bilateral relationship with China. Her analyses have appeared in academic journals, as well as publications such as The Quarterly, The New York Times, Nikkei Asian Review, Foreign Policy, The East Asia Forum, and the Lowy Interpreter, among others.


About the moderator

Tim Harcourt

Tim Harcourt is the new Industry Professor and Chief Economist at the Institute for Public Policy and Governance (IPPG) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

Professor Harcourt specialises in Australia’s economic engagement with the Global Economy particularly Asia, Latin America and Emerging Markets and has worked in both public policy and research roles in International Trade, Labour Markets, Climate Innovation and the Economics of Sport.

He is passionate about making economics and international trade accessible to the whole community.

He is well known for his TV show The Airport Economist about his travels to over 60 countries to see what makes their economies tick and the potential trade opportunities with Australia.

The Airport Economist is also a podcast and a best-selling book with a just released sequel The Airport Economist Flies Again!

He also hosts two TV series on China and Australia The Big Picture and After the Pandemic.

Professor Harcourt joined UTS in April 2021 from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) where he was Professor of Practice in Economics at the UNSW Business School.

He was also previously the first Chief Economist of the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) and Research Officer/Advocate with the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), a role first held by Bob Hawke in the 1960s.

He has been an Adviser to two State Premiers and three Federal Cabinet Ministers and an Expert Panel Member to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) on Minimum Wages and Superannuation.

He has also been an International Economist with the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and has worked as an Economist in the private sector in USA, UK and Israel.

You can find The Airport Economist TV series, podcast, books and blogs at www.theairporteconomist.com and www.footynomics.com.au


Event Information
December 07 2021
10:30 AM
Webinar (online-only)