CEO’s Letter to Members and Friends of the Community 2023


Dear Members and Friends of the Community,

What an amazing end to 2022 and start to 2023. With a wide and accelerated spread of Covid-19 during December, and an immediate policy change, opening China to the world in January. It has certainly set the scene for a very hopeful, if not interesting, year of the Rabbit.

The policy change enabled me to return to Australia to see my family during Chinese New Year for the first time in several years and meet with members along with BCA (Business Council of Australia). I hope others can reunite with their loved ones, rebuild face to face personal and business relationships, and encourage old and new faces to visit China in 2023.

Below I have reflected on the year gone and looked forward to the year ahead. I wish everyone an amazing year of the rabbit and look forward to strong connections and collaborations with you all in 2023.

2022 - A Year in Reflection

In 2022, Shanghai endured the hardest moments during the pandemic, with several months of city-wide lockdowns, putting stress on every element of our lives. However, I was proud of how the Australia-China community provided support to each other, both broadly and at an individual level. AustCham Shanghai worked tirelessly during this period to reach out individually to members and coordinate publicly available online Community Townhalls, and seven Community Industry Forums, providing critical personal and business support and information during an unprecedented time.#It was also during the Shanghai lockdown that AustCham Shanghai, along with Platinum Member UMS (United Media Solution), focused on solving a member highlighted issue of an easily accessible member directory. This led to the development, and launch of our WeChat Miniprogram powered by UMS, allowing access, searchability, request to connect and greater exposure for all AustCham Shanghai members.

Our MiniProgram wasn’t the only step towards digitization last year. In preparation for our Graduation & Career Fair, and continued employability support for students of Australian Universities, AustCham Shanghai developed a new and improved Career Hub, powered by Ajinga, allowing members to advertise open positions to our broader community.AustCham Shanghai thanks UMS and Ajinga for their partnerships on these projects, and for the development for such amazing solutions. If you would like to find out how UMS or Ajinga can help you, please contact me for an introduction.#Although 2022 was a difficult year, it saw the first positive turn around in Australia-China bilateral relations in quite some time. This positivity continues to grow as bilateral discussions become a regular occurrence, and promising hints of improved trade policies become a frequent topic. This also aligns to a continued strengthening working relationship between Shanghai Government officials and AustCham Shanghai. During 2022 AustCham Shanghai and Shanghai Government had several collaborations, including their specific brand and executional support of the FMCG Showcase at the Shanghai Grand Theatre late last year.AustCham Shanghai had close connections to previous Australian governments and started strong with the new and current government with a letter to the Minister of Trade and Tourism in July last year, leading to the Minister briefing in October. We will continue to look for opportunities to bring the Australian Government closer to AustCham Shanghai members, with this year opening the door for potential delegations.The improved bilateral relations were well timed, leading into AustCham Shanghai’s celebration of the 50 Year Anniversary of China-Australia diplomatic relationship, along with our Community Awards and Christmas festivities at our final event of the year.
I can’t reflect on 2022 without acknowledging the hard work of my AustCham Shanghai team, I am proud of their achievements, dedication, community spirit, and their desire to seek ways to support our members and community. This is of course hugely supported by your Chair, Heidi Dugan, Deputy Chair, Tony Zhang, and Board of Directors. #

2023 – The Next New Normal

This year presents the opportunity to redefine what it means for organisations to be in China and remind those who have not stepped into market for several years of what opportunities China holds. Although it is likely to be a new normal rather than a return to normal, China is still the largest trading partner for Australia. As always, AustCham Shanghai will be agile, our strategy based on the needs of our members, our community and to support the China-Australia relationship. We will continue the great work that has been executed over the past years but also reintroduce services, such as delegations, that are now possible with the recent policy changes.

In our events calendar for 2023 we have allowed space for Industry Forum and member lead projects and events. I encourage all members to seek involvement in our Industry Forums and seek opportunities to show industry leadership in each field. We also plan to potentially add two new Industry Forums to our current list of seven. If you have Industry Forum lead event or project ideas, please reach out to myself or Jessica Wang (jessica.wang@austchamshanghai.com).

AustCham Shanghai will continue to support the Australian education industry, via internship opportunities and moving from our Graduation events to Career & Education Fairs scheduled for May and November of this year. Universities, Vocational Education, and organisations will all be invited to meet with Australian University graduates for recruitment or further education.

We will also continue to strengthen government relations with both China and Australia. Building wider connections into the Shanghai community, international community, and our Australian community, bringing valuable networks to our members relevant to your industries.

What's Coming up

Our 2023 event calendar has been released – scan the QR codes below to check out the calendar and express your interest in being involved, whether as an event venue, speaker, or provider.

2023 Events Calendar

If you would like to discuss membership, an event or project, delegations, an engagement in the Chinese market, or sponsorship, please feel free to reach out to me via email or WeChat, or to one of my team, Jessica Wang – Membership, Miley Yin – Projects & Events, or Yasmin Ye – Marketing.Wishing you all a prosperous year of the Rabbit.

Simon Woods

CEO & Executive Director AustCham Shanghai

E: simon.woods@austchamshanghai.com

WeChat: Simon-Woods