Greenmount-based organic grain miller Quentin Kennedy was one of 50 people who participated in a business matching event as part of the largest privately-organised delegation of people to Shanghai ever undertaken from Australia.
One of the 206-strong trade delegation that flew out of Brisbane West Wellcamp airport last week, Quentin was visiting China for the third time and was still working to clarify the best move for his business in the huge Chinese market.
Flour wasn’t included in the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement and is subject to a 65 per cent tariff once a quota is successfully negotiated, but Kialla Pure Foods does have some market access through noodle manufacturers.
“I’d like to go either into artisan baking – there’s some fairly high level opportunities on the bulk side – or cross-border retail with my pancake mix,” he said.
“That avoids the tariff and it’s attractive to the Chinese.
“I met yesterday with an online operator who imports Australian milk and who was looking for a complementary product. The feedback was very positive.”
Quentin was also tossing up the pros and cons of selling direct or with someone with an established online platform, but was moving in the direction of the latter.
He said the business speed-dating event, where all participants had been vetted by Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise, had provided him with more online leads to follow in the meantime.
“I’ve just got to keep coming back until I find the right person,” he said.
AccessChina’16 delegation leader Ben Lyons said the focus of business matching had been to give small to medium enterprises a quality introduction to operators on the Chinese side.
“Delegates were given the chance to meet with potential business partners that TSBE and Food Leaders Australia knew had an interest in dealing with companies as good as the ones on the delegation,” he said.
A China office was established by FLA with projects like AccessChina’16 in mind.
TSBE business development manager and FLA general manager (Greater China) Liu Wen works from the China office and joined the Toowoomba-based TSBE team to open Chinese trade links.
Dr Lyons said businesses on the delegation had met with Chinese companies to lay the foundation for business links.
As part of the trade trip, more than 200 delegates moved from the formal conference setting at Hyatt on the Bund hotel to travel around the region and see a range of sites for themselves.
- Sally Cripps travelled to Shanghai as a guest of Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise.