AustCham News


This page shares important changes within the Chamber. We encourage friends and members to follow our WeChat or LinkedIn at “AustChamChina 中国澳大利亚商会” for the most recent event information and other Chamber news.

Dear AustCham China Members,

We hope this message finds you well. Today, we have an important update to share regarding our leadership team.

After a period of dedicated service, Mr. Rex Chen will be stepping down as the CEO of AustCham China, effective 12 February 2024.  Rex has been an invaluable part of our journey, leading with commitment and passion.  We are grateful for his contributions and leadership. 

We are delighted to announce Mr. Alex Whitebrook, our current COO, as Rex’s successor.  To ensure a seamless transition, Rex will continue to support the team in a consulting capacity, focusing on transition activities and sharing his experience with Alex and the team. 

With Alex at the helm, supported by the board, we are confident AustCham China will continue to thrive and build on the achievements of 2023.

We look forward to your continued support and collaboration during this exciting new chapter for AustCham China.


For and on behalf of the Board

China-Australia Chamber of Commerce

Dear members and friends,

Over the last 12 months, I have felt both proud and humbled whenever someone told me that they had become closer to AustCham China, or that their membership had delivered value, or that their confidence in the chamber had grown.

I have been lucky to have led the secretariat during a period of warming bilateral relations between Australia and China. I have also benefited enormously from the guidance and the support from the board of directors – in particular from Vaughn, the chair. I take comfort in the knowledge that my role as the CEO of AustCham China produced some positive outcomes.

While I was honoured and eager to contribute to the Australian business community in China, it was always likely that I would return to my private business after a stint at the chamber. I am pleased that the secretariat is now more efficient, better staffed, and delivers services in more consistent quality than a year ago, and I am able to hand over to a competent successor.

As COO, Alex has demonstrated great passion, resourcefulness and positivity, as well as genuineness towards members and stakeholders – qualities that are essential for a chamber leader. As he takes up the challenge of becoming the CEO, I will remain with the secretariat as an advisor, ensuring a seamless and steady-paced transition. Please feel free to continue to contact me through email, WeChat or phone about chamber business. I will be pleased to introduce you to Alex if I have not already done so.

I will gradually shift my focus back to BeSpoken Solutions – the interpretation, translation and communication firm that I run with my wife Lacy. However, I will remain associated with AustCham China as a member, a partner, and a volunteer.

I look forward to seeing you at the next AustCham China event.

Warm regards,












With Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese arriving in China this weekend, China-Australia Chamber of Commerce (AustCham China) today released the findings of its latest Flash Survey which was conducted over a two-week period up until 31 October 2023 and represents the perspectives of 91 Australian and other foreign-owned companies engaged in business between Australia and China. 


1. Satisfaction with the Australian Government’s efforts to Stabilise the Bilateral Relationship is Greatly Improved

Over 70% of respondents are satisfied or very satisfied with the Australian government’s management of the bilateral relationship with China.  This represents a 180-degree turnaround since May 2022 when 70% of the respondents were not satisfied with the handling of the relationship under the previous Federal Government. 

2. Chinese Economy

Half of respondents are benefiting from growth in China’s economy while the other half say they are concerned about uncertainty and volatility or are already being negatively affected by the current state of China’s economy.  There has been a notable shift towards a more cautious outlook compared to last year with increased concerns about uncertainty. 

3. Perceived Risks and Uncertainties

The top three factors impacting decisions about and operation of respondents’ businesses in China are the politicization of the business environment in China, the predictability of China’s regulatory environment and the Australia-China relationship.  Significant impacts are also felt due to concerns about the US-China relationship, the state of the Chinese economy and overall global economic conditions.

4. China’s Significance in Global Investment Plans

Notwithstanding the concerns, for 33% of respondents China is their top investment priority, with an additional 25% ranking it among their top three priorities. This shows a slight increase in businesses considering China as a top priority since May 2022.

5. Investment Intentions for the Next 12 Months

Almost 90% of respondents plan to maintain or increase their current investment levels in China.  Of the 41% of respondents planning to increase their investment in China, for 65% this is primarily due to strategic prioritisation of the China market.  Other reasons include expectations of faster growth in China (19%) and improved market access (8%).  This represents a shift towards increasing investment since May 2022. 

6. Diversification is Not An “Either Or” Choice

31% of respondents have already initiated or increased diversification efforts while 23% are actively exploring diversification options.  While there is a noticeable increase in businesses considering diversification as a risk management response, the results show a balanced approach, with diversification of business activities or supply chains and commitment to the China market both playing roles in the business strategies of respondent companies.

7. Geopolitical Uncertainties and Regulatory Challenges

Understanding and planning for the potential impacts of geopolitics is the “new normal” for companies.  Maintaining open communication with Chinese stakeholders is the action cited by almost 60% of respondents as a response to geopolitical uncertainties.  While 57% of respondents find the regulatory environment favourable to their business, 43% find it challenging.  Forming partnerships or joint ventures with Chinese entities is cited as a strategy to navigate regulatory challenges (68%) and to respond to geopolitical uncertainties (32%).  Only two respondents said they have ceased or will cease their China business in response to geopolitical uncertainties. 

8. Strategies to Drive Recovery and Growth

30% of respondents are focusing on innovation and product development, 20% on expanding into new cities and regions in China, and 16% on increasing use of e-commerce and digital platforms.  These strategies show an adaptive approach to overcoming challenges and seizing growth opportunities in the dynamic Chinese market.

9. 70% of Respondents are Optimistic about the Long-term Outlook

In the long-term, just under 20% of respondents are highly optimistic about their China business, while just over 50% are cautiously optimistic.


Vaughn Barber, Chair of AustCham China, commented on the survey: “There’s a renewed sense of cautious optimism in the Australia-China relationship thanks to the ongoing efforts on both sides since the election of the Albanese Government in May last year.  Despite global uncertainties and a challenging business environment, Australian companies remain committed to the China market.  They’re adapting their strategies to defend and grow their China business, navigate regulatory challenges, and manage risks effectively.  These survey results are a testament to the importance and future potential of Australia’s economic relationship with China and the resilience and adaptability of the hardy cohort of companies and institutions delivering record export volumes and other milestones which contribute materially to the prosperity of our nation.”

As Prime Minister Albanese’s visit unfolds, these insights offer a valuable context for understanding the evolving landscape of China-Australia business relations.

For Media inquiries please contact: 

Tian Zhang 
Tel.: +86 156 0016 5061  [/vc_column_text]