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Back in late June at our ACSME monthly webinar with futurist, Craig Rispin, I asked him for his top 3 tips for SMEs seeking opportunities to tap into China’s innovation. His answer surprised me but was absolutely right: 1. Engage, 2. Engage, and 3. Engage. See Engage First.

With some help from my friend and adviser, Angus M Robinson (previously the CEO of the then Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association Ltd – AEEMA), we took this advice from Craig as an opportunity to reach out to the China Electronics Chamber of Commerce (CECC) with a view to establishing an MOU between the Australia China SME Association (ACSME), the CECC and Electronics Industry Development Inc (EIDA) in Australia. Our hope is that this will result in a high level recognition for ACSME and EIDA at the next Asian Electronics Forum later this year and a physical presence for our members at CES Asia in Shanghai next year.

I have to say that in all of our recent dealings with Mr. Wang Ning, President of the China Electronics Chamber of Commerce, a longstanding friend of AEEMA, we have been genuinely surprised by his strong desire and commitment to deepening the Australian relationship in the innovation sector, and his speed of response. This is despite the daily media commentary about the precarious state of Sino-Australian politics and the fear of ‘decoupling’.

Craig was right. Now more than ever we need to engage with China, deepen relationships and seek opportunities for collaboration and partnerships. Australia is a small country and a middle economic power with limited influence on its own. Engagement like this is critical. We need to do more of it.

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