As Chengdu and Australia strengthen mutual economic and trade relations these years, Australia has risen as an important trade partner of and investor in Chengdu. Similarly, Chengdu is now also Australia's most important partner in Western China.
Australia set up a Consulate General in Chengdu in 2013 to encompass Western China - the first time it established a consulate in China since 1992.
The same year, Chengdu opened nonstop air routes to Melbourne. With the ongoing economic, cultural and social exchanges, beef, wine and even fresh produce (e.g. lobster) from Australia have appeared on the table of Chengdu families.
Chengdu became a sister city of the Australian city of Perth as early as 2010. Since then, the two cities have been successful in cooperating on education, tourism, etc. Thus far, 120 Australian investors, including ANZ, BlueScope and Goodman, have made investments in Chengdu.
What is it that makes the city renowned for giant pandas and spicy delicacies attractive to the Australian government and Australian investors?
In 2013, the Chinese government initiated the huge "One Belt, One Road" strategy in an attempt to re-create the historical economic prosperity along the ancient Silk Road leading from Central Asia to Europe by way of Russia. Located at the crossing of "One Belt, One Road" and the Yangtze Economic Area, Chengdu is now in a position to rank among the most developed Chinese cities.
Earlier this year, Chengdu was positioned by the Central government as a national-level economic center, a new opportunity to launch it onto a fast track of development. With 89 international/regional air routes in operation, a second airport quickly under construction and a currently operational express rail shuttling between Chengdu and EU countries, the city is showing a huge ambition to become the largest general aviation complex in Western China and a national/international-level logistics center.
The commendable entrepreneurial environment and livability of Chengdu struck the Australian media magnates who attended the forum as an impressive surprise, who visited the S&T City in Tianfu New Area, the Giant Panda Breeding Ground and Kuanzhaixiangzi during breaks in their spare time.
It was the third time that Wilton International Media Group CEO Harold Weldon came to Chengdu. He was amazed at the changes, "The changes are not simply in area. The city is actively merging into the world. Geographical advantage brings it unlimited opportunities. There's something like an inherent leisure here, so foreigners embrace the city very quickly and take their time living and working here."
State Council Information Office Deputy Head Guo Weimin said in an address at the forum, "In Chinese, Chengdu means 'City of Success'. I believe the forum to be a fruitful success if China and Australia stick together as well as the starting point for in-depth cooperation between media groups on both sides."
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