“China has the most active digital investment and start-up ecosystem in the world, and has emerged as the world’s largest investor in fintech. The Chinese blockchain ecosystem is rapidly growing with a reported 456 blockchain companies at the end of March this year. Data from the World Intellectual Property Organization reveals China was the largest blockchain patent filer in the world in 2017, with China contributing 225 international blockchain patent applications, followed by the USA with 91 filings and Australia with 13.
China’s State Council has endorsed blockchain technology as part of an Information Technology Reformation Strategy in China’s 13th Five-year Economic Development Plan (2016-2020) with President Xi Jinping calling the technology a “breakthrough application” in May 2018. In fact throughout 2018, Chinese local government authorities have demonstrated a pro-blockchain attitude, funding multi-billion dollar initiatives and blockchain-based networks.” – Austrade
Against this backdrop, the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, more commonly known as ‘Austrade’, in partnership with the Australian Digital Commerce Association (ADCA), convened a delegation including blockchain scale-ups, legal firms, and venture capitalists, to showcase their capabilities as the game-changers in the next frontier of trade between Australia & China.
At this stage, it’s worth noting the value that Austrade bring to the table as a facilitator of international trade. They:-
- connect export-ready Australian businesses to overseas opportunities and work with them to achieve commercial outcomes
- win productive foreign direct investment
- promote Australian capability internationally
- work with priority industry sectors to drive sustained long-term growth of Australian exports
- reduce the time, cost and risk for our clients
- provide authoritative commercial insights and information to help clients to make informed business decisions
- inform and influence policy to support positive trade and investment outcomes
- provide financial assistance for exporters through programs like the Export Market Development Grants scheme
- support Australia’s regional exporters through the TradeStart network
- contribute to economic diplomacy and protect the welfare of Australians abroad through timely, responsive consular and passport services in specific locations.
From the outset, it was clear from the immediate camaraderie among the delegates that, in addition to the access that would offered into the Chinese market, there would be considerable value in Australian companies supporting and networking with one another, and in so doing forming relationships that will accelerate their own projects and agendas.
Perhaps in the context of the Chinese having banned ICOs since Q3 2017, there was clear focus on how blockchain could be leveraged within the value chain of traditional businesses. This theme seemed to be underscored in the serendipitous timing of two press releases during the Mission. Firstly, one of the delegates, Craig Dunn of Standards Australia, was featured in the Australian Financial Review championing the need for Chinese tech giants such as Alibaba, Baidu, JD and Tencent to becomes key developers of Blockchain Standards in order to engender trust in the new systems. Then we had the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, supporting the narrative that distributed ledger technologies and blockchain are going to open up “massive opportunities” in the financial sector and beyond.
This was certainly in evidence during visits to some of China’s most prominent finance companies, including Ant Financial (a subsuidiary of Ali Baba), Ping An (a leading insurance and financial services company) and Dianrong (a Chinese fintech ‘unicorn’). The welcome the delegation received at each of these venues was warm and it was clearly apparent that blockchain technology has brought an additional dimension to Chinese-Australian trading relations.
With new partnerships on the horizon that will offer access to the unparalleled Chinese market, the BlockBoxx team is extremely buoyant about the commercialisation opportunities we can offer our clients.