BeefEx 2014

BeefEx: Doing business with China? Give a Chinese student experience

James Nason, 20/10/2014
Chinese students. Picture:

Chinese students. Picture:

What can Australian export businesses do to improve their chances of succeeding in China?

One solution may be much closer to home than they think.

At the recent BeefEx conference on the Gold Coast, export market consultant David Thomas urged lot feeders and beef exporters to seriously consider giving Chinese students studying in Australia a job or the opportunity to undertake a work experience placement in their business.

Mr Thomas pointed out that there are currently 150,000 Chinese students studying in Australia universities, all products of a one-child family.

As he explained: “So somewhere in China, a family has decided to send their precious one child, not to America or England or Europe, but to Australia to do their study.

“So at the end of their studies, they do very well of course, their English improves, they get very high marks, they work very hard, and at the end of the studies they say we would love to get some work experience and their parents encourage them to go and learn how the foreigners do business.

“So they put out their CV, they look for opportunities for work, internships, cadetships, apprenticeships, and they get rejected routinely. Always.

“And they end up going back to China and back into the family business. What a waste!

“Not only do they work hard, they could be your China customer relationships person and take the phone calls from the Chinese and build your networks and databases in China.

“They also have rich parents who could help you in China, who could open some doors, it could be a Government official or a chief executive officer of a State Owned Enterprise or an entrepreneur who could help you in China and open the door for you, simply because you looked at their precious one child who was looking for a job and work experience in Australia. What a great opportunity.”

David Thomas from Think Global Consulting at BeefEx 2014.

David Thomas from Think Global Consulting at BeefEx 2014.

Mr Thomas urged any business interested in giving Chinese students an opportunity to visit websites set up with the specific purpose of connecting Chinese students and Australian businesses, such as or

Mr Thomas said he had an introduced an internship program in the Australian citrus industry, under which Chinese students were now coming to study in regional universities in Australia while doing internships in citrus grower’s offices.

“They are not picking fruit, by the way, but sitting in the offices actually talking to Chinese customers in Chinese, very helpful.

“And here is the rub, most of them don’t want to be paid, they just want the experience. Give it to them.”

To view more articles from the recent BeefEx 2014 conference move your mouse onto ‘Lotfeeding’ tab at the top of this page and then click on BeefEx


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  1. Jason Lu, 20/10/2014

    From my understanding, Australian meat export sector is already very well established in China, If a abattoir is not approved by AQSIQ and CNCA in China it means they cannot export directly into China, however majority of them already have established connetctions in China via the grey channel, Aus-meat actually have a handbook in Chinese version as well and other markets ie, USA and the Middle East. Really there are no need for Chinese internships as training them also wastes time and they might quit after few months simply because they don’t like the position and it’s too far from major cities. I really do wish that Mr. Thomas actually get to know the industry first and the players in the industry before he made those comments.

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