THE AUSTRALIA China Legal Group of Queensland firm MacDonnells Law recently helped organise a tour of Central Queensland for a delegation of high-profile Chinese dignitaries.
The delegation comprised three Consulate Generals of the People’s Republic of China in Brisbane — Consul General Ren Gongping, Consul Kang Bingjian and Consul Zhang Tong — the Deputy Division Chief in the State Council of China’s Legislative Affairs Office, Dr Huang Chagjie, and the leader of MacDonnells Law’s Australia China Legal Group and the secretary of the Australia China Business Group in Brisbane, Julie Louie.
The group visited Queensland regions including Emerald, Rockhampton, Mackay, Bowen and Airlie Beach, and met with newly elected local government representatives and business leaders in these areas.
According to MacDonnells Law’s Julie Louie, the main purpose of the tour was to strengthen the social and economic ties between China and Central Queensland.
“Identifying investment opportunities was really important, and before the trip the Consuls gave us an idea as to what sectors they would be interested in visiting,” Louie said.
These industries included mining and mining-related industries, farming, infrastructure and property development ranging from motels, retirement homes and medical centres to shopping centres and residential development and tourism.
Another issue that was canvassed was the possibility of developing a sister-region relationship between the region of Mackay, Isaac and Bowen, and a compatible area in China.
“The idea is not just to find any city — but a compatible one,” Louie said. “In China, they don’t have any such thing as a ‘region’ so they need to find something comparable to what Mackay, Isaac and Bowen have to offer. But that has been discussed and it’s very promising.”
Though MacDonnells Law has had connections with China for nearly 120 years, it only officially formed its Australia China Legal Group last October. According to Louie, the group focuses on three groups of clients: Chinese clients wanting to invest in Australia, Australian clients investing in China or hoping to attract inbound Chinese investment and Chinese clients based in Australia.
Louie, who speaks English, Mandarin and Cantonese, says she is able to provide her clients with a unique insight into the cultures of both China and Australia.
“I guess it’s no secret that doing business in China is not easy. They have a different way of doing things, a different way of negotiating. [For example,] in China, they want things done 24 hours, seven days a week — we don’t. It’s things like that,” she said.
“So I can provide more than the legal services and more than the language. It’s all about the negotiation skill and [understanding] the business culture as well.”