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Consul General Hu Shan Comments on China-NSW Cooperation Relations
I arrived in Sydney last November for the third time in my life. The previous two business trips left me only glimpses of the fascinating nature and people of the city and New South Wales. This time, as Consul General of China in Sydney who carries the lofty mission of developing friendship between New South Wales and China, I couldn’t help feeling amazed at what a good momentum we are now enjoying for the growth of cooperation between NSW and China in all areas.
China is already the largest trading partner of NSW. Despite the impact of global financial crisis, the trade in goods between China and NSW managed encouraging growth in 2008. The statistics of Australian Bureau of Statistics(ABS) show that the trade in goods between NSW and China increased by 17.34% from previous year to 19.203 billion Australian dollars in 2008, which takes up 16.3% of the total foreign trade of NSW and 28.35% of the trade between Australia and China. Meanwhile, China stays the largest trading partner of Australia and Australia the 9th largest of China.
The two way investment between China and NSW is also vibrant. China has direct investment in NSW in finance, mining, electricity, real estate, IT, Traditional Chinese Medicine areas, etc. Now there are over 50 Chinese companies operating in Sydney. NSW has its strengths in financial service, bio-pharmaceuticals, architectural design, environmental protection, IT. In recent years, its investment in China also grows very rapidly. Its major banks and financial institutions have opened branches or offices in China and many companies see China as its major overseas market. The year 2008 marked a milestone for NSW’s investment in China: DET Int’l won the bidding of staff training program for 180,000 staff members of 2010 Shanghai Expo; Turningpoint Solutions was the bidding winner for hosting large events such as the 47th Conference of World Federation of Exchanges in Shanghai; over 80 NSW companies got construction contracts for projects of Beijing Olympic Games; venues such as Water Cube, Olympic Village and hockey field that was designed or constructed by PTW Architects, Arup and Sports Technology Int’l impressed the whole world during the Games; Leighton Group got altogether 19.7 billion HKD construction contracts in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau; Sigma Coachair Group also got huge contracts for upgrading railway and highway air-conditioning systems. Over 9,000 Australian companies have invested in China.
Education exchanges and cooperation is another important aspect of bilateral relations. Over ten state universities of NSW established cooperative relations with universities in China regarding research, teaching and management. Every year above 1000 NSW students go to China for study and the figure is still rising. China is the largest source of international students for NSW. The latest statistics show that there are 66,000 Chinese students (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) in NSW. For Australia, education has become a very important export that ranks only behind coal and iron ore. Iron ore export of Australia registered at 21.3 billion Australian dollars from 2007 to 2008 while education created 14.16 billion incomes in the same period. Chinese students contribute nearly 30% of that. More and more Chinese students are choosing Australia for oversea studies. Within the 5 months since my arrival, the number of Chinese students in Australia increased by 9,000.
The cultural exchanges also develop very fast. The annual Chinese New Year Twilight Parade has become a trademark of NSW’s multiculturalism. This year’s parade unprecedentedly attracted a crowd of more than 100,000 citizens and tourists. Henan Province of China sent a team of over 500 performers to the parade. Not only the number of Chinese cultural groups visiting Australia increases, but also that of Australian cultural exchange programs going to China. Apart from inter-governmental exchanges, people-to-people exchanges also becomes increasingly dynamic. The multi-tiered and multi-form cultural exchanges enhanced the mutual-understanding of our two peoples and promoted the all-dimensional development of bilateral relations.
Sydney is among the favorite choices for tourists of the world. Now every year nearly 300,000 Chinese tourists travel across the Pacific to this city, which means that every day Sydney will receive 800 Chinese tourists. China has become an important source of tourists for NSW. Chinese tourists spend more visiting time here in Australia than American, British, New Zealand tourists and tourists from any other country. Each Chinese tourist spend 4,450 Australian dollars on average, only second to German tourists. Tourism NSW once predicted that the number of Chinese tourists will continue to grow and that the number in 2010 will grow by 73% from that in 2006.
Cooperation between NSW and China on science and technology is also fruitful. In 2006, the Chinese Government and NSW Government signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Science, Technology and Cooperation, initiating the inter-governmental science and technology cooperation between the two sides. This March, the two governments signed the Memorandum of Understanding on the Management of China-NSW Collaborative Research Program and jointly set up a fund for collaborative research projects in Traditional Chinese Medicine and proteomics with each side allocating 500,000 Australian dollars, marking a new phase of practical science and technological cooperation between China and NSW. Meanwhile, China-Australia joint telecommunication research center was also inaugurated in NSW, which created a platform for strengthening cooperation in R&D and business development of telecommunication technologies.
The China-NSW relationship is but an epitome of China-Australia relationship. It gains breath and depth along with the all-round growth of our bilateral ties and people-to-people friendship. This friendship is built on a win-win results and mutual benefits. It not only brings real benefits to our peoples, but also forged a solid basis for our in-depth cooperation in all areas. This friendship is not only reflected by the fruits achieved by our two Governments and two peoples in pursuit of common development and mutual benefits, but also by our support to each other in times of difficulty. Just as the Australian Government and people gave us great support when China was stricken by snowstorms and the devastating earthquake in Wenchuan last year, the Chinese government and people immediately lent our hands when news of Victorian bushfire arrived. Premier Wen Jiabao sent message of condolence to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Mr. Li Changchun, Member of Standing Committee of Political Bureau of Central Committee of Communist Party of China donated 500,000 US dollars in cash on behalf of the Chinese Government to Australian Government during his visit to Australia. Chinese Red Cross also made donation to the Australian Red Cross, and the National Disaster Reduction Center mobilized disaster reduction satellites to provide remote-sensing data and disaster status analysis 24 hours a day. Chinese companies and students in NSW also acted quickly to send their care and love to the afflicted people. These selfless donations and technological supports from the Chinese Government and people were very much appreciated in Australia.
The Chinese Consulate General in Sydney has always encouraged and supported the Chinese communities in NSW to make contribution to the economic prosperity, social development, charity cause and multiculturalism of NSW. When the worst-ever bushfire in Australian history was still roaring, the Australian Chinese communities in NSW generously offered what they have to help their fellow Australians affected by the bushfire. They donated estimately over 1,000,000 dollars for the bushfire victims. My colleagues and I have expressed our high appreciation of their deeds of benevolence on many charity functions held by them.
However, I also noticed that there are some concerns about Chinese companies’ investment in Australia recently, on which I would like to share my personal views.
Ever since China started reform and opening-up in 1978, the state-owned enterprises in China have pursued effective combination of state ownership and market economy as well as modern corporate systems as its goal of reform. 30 years of unremitting efforts have turned Chinese state-owned enterprises into self-managed market entities having the power to make their own decisions and are responsible for their own successes and losses. This has enabled them to participate in international competition on a fair basis. Their investments in Australia are but decisions based on their own development strategy, some of which were actually invited or initiated by Australian companies. I myself only learnt about these investments through related media coverage. Australia is a large mine resources exporter, while China, as a major manufacturer of the world, has large demand for energy and mine products. Given the ever tougher competition in the global mineral market, these investments, while helping Chinese companies to find a stable source of raw material, will help Australian mining companies secure a long-term and stable market, acquire an advantageous place over their global competitors in the industry, and walk out of the difficulties brought by the financial crisis at an early date, not to mention creating more jobs. I believe that it would be a choice beneficial to both sides.
Compared with the concerns about Chinese state-owned enterprises like Chinalco, criticisms against Huawei, a Chinese private company, seemed even less convincing. No long ago, I had the honor of accompanying Mr. Li Changchun to visit the Sydney Office of Huawei, which gave me a brand-new knowledge of the company. I was amazed by what Huawei has achieved in market and its contribution to the global telecommunication industry. I therefore admire how wise those Australian companies are in choosing Huawei as their partner. As the only global equipment supplier with its fixed network, mobile network and data communication IP technologies ranking top 3 in the world, Huawei provides service to 36 of world top 50 operators. Having world famous companies like IBM, Hay Group and Pricewaterhorsecoopers as its management and consultation service provider, Huawei is now a truly international corporation. Huawei also lead the world in terms of the number of PCT patent applications in 2008, with an accumulative 35,773 patents in hand. Its contracted value of sales in 2008 reached 23.3 billion US dollars. Some Australian media reported on the so-called “military background” of Huawei. The fact of the matter is: the current CEO of Huawei Mr. Ren Zhengfei was a veteran soldier. After retirement in 1978 he worked in a local company and later started his own business with merely 20,000 RMB yuan in 1987. With 20 years of hardwork, it become today’s Huawei.
I have every confidence that the new type of all-dimensional cooperation between China and Australia as well as China and New South Wales we are building today will definitely deliver a bright future for us. It is also the consensus of visionary persons of both China and Australia.
The unprecedented international financial crisis is still unfolding. China and Australia are still facing severe challenges. Days ago, President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd met on the sideline of G20 London Summit and agreed on deepening bilateral business cooperation and jointly addressing international financial crisis. As Premier Wen Jiaobao once said, that “confidence is more important than gold” in face of crisis. The current good situation in China-Australia and China-NSW all-dimensional cooperation is founded on mutual benefits and win-win progress, which, together with our sincerity and goodwill toward each other, will make this confidence even more solid. Let’s work together to overcome the crisis and difficulties before us, and create a better future for China, New South Wales and Australia.