Department of State Development

South Australia and China relationship

The Government of South Australia has been effectively engaging with China through a long-term partnership with Shandong Province, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2016.

The Government’s vision is ‘to strengthen the State’s partnership with China and enhance and deepen our long-term engagement in areas encompassing investment, trade and business, education, sport, culture, the arts, sciences, and the exchange of people, skills and ideas’.

China is South Australia’s highest export partner with an export value of $2.2 billion (in the 12 months to March 2017).

China market

China is embracing a new model of economic growth under President Xi Jinping, with attention being placed on structural reforms and environmental protection.

China is transitioning from a period of uninhibited investment expansion to a modern, advanced economy with heavy investment in upgrading the quality of education, innovation, research and development.

A stronger focus will be placed on quality urbanisation, environmental initiatives to include the establishment of a green development fund and the promotion of clean production.

The signing of the China Australia Free Trade Agreement, which entered into force in December 2015, is set to transform the relationship between Australia and China. More than 86% of Australia’s goods exports to China will enter duty free (worth more than $90 billion). Once the Agreement is fully implemented and tariff cuts are phased in, 96% of Australian goods will enter China duty free.

ChAFTA also opens up a range of new opportunities for South Australian service providers with enhanced market access for financial services companies, law firms, professional services suppliers, education services exporters, as well as health, aged care, hospitality, construction and manufacturing businesses.

  • Latest news

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  • China Engagement Strategy update

    The China Engagement Strategy has been updated to reflect the changing circumstances of South Australia’s largest trading partner, one of the world’s only two economies with a Gross Domestic Product exceeding USD $10 trillion.

    The update also takes into account the China Australia Free Trade Agreement and the launch of China’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020).

Download China Strategy

South Australia-China Engagement Strategy

The South Australia-China Engagement Strategy has been updated to reflect the evolution of the relationship with South Australia’s largest trading partner.

The update recognises the efforts made by South Australia over the past three years and some of the achievements made by communities, industry and Government.

Key action updates to the Strategy include:

  • Consolidate and promote South Australia’s capability as a partner in China’s social, cultural and economic development
  • Coordinate and leverage Government activity to build platforms for engagement
  • Build and support China-ready South Australian businesses and Government
  • Refocus Government resources to support the Strategy.
South Australia - China Engagement Strategy: Two years on
Download PDF | 7.65 MB
南澳州·中国交往战略 2016年5月修订版
Download PDF | 5.54 MB

Sector opportunities


Agribusiness, food and wine

South Australian agribusiness, food and wine companies are well placed to take advantage of China’s growing exposure to international travel and cuisine. China’s food safety concerns also provide opportunities within this key sector.

Resources and energy

With South Australia’s mineral resources sector boasting impressive figures in copper resources and production, uranium and gold, major Chinese corporations are keen to further invest in the State.

Health, aged and disability care

Driven by a rapidly ageing population, the health, aged care and disability sectors are all high growth areas for China. South Australia is well positioned to offer support as a partner in the development of this sector. 


Services for liveability

There is significant potential of supported clusters of business and industry to drive innovation and collaboration, with South Australia concentrating on water treatment and management, waste management and recycling, modelling and simulation and architectural and design services in China.

Tourism, arts and culture

There are significant opportunities to promote South Australia as a tourism destination in Shandong Province and leverage the expertise and reputation of South Australia’s flagship cultural institutions to support the exchange of business ideas and techniques and commercial opportunities.


There is the potential of South Australian education and training institutions to provide opportunities to the Chinese, with China being the top source country for international students to the State.

South Australia and Shandong sister-state agreement

South Australia and Shandong sister-state agreement

In 2016, South Australia and Shandong celebrated the 30th anniversary of the signing of the sister-state agreement.

South Australia is investing heavily in broadening and deepening its 30-year sister-state relationship with Shandong, revitalising the agreement in 2012.

During the business mission in April 2016 in the Shandong Province:

  • 30 Memorandum of Understandings signed
  • 13 exports deals valued at more than $3.5 million were done, with another $50 million worth of leads to be followed up
  • 52 investment leads made – one worth more than $20 million


Video - Celebrating Shandong

Celebrating our 30 year relationship with our sister-state Shandong.

Success stories

  • Beston Global Food Company has formed a partnership with the Dashang Group in Liaoning Province to expand Beston’s investment in premium closed-loop food products.
  • Barossa Valley winery, Seppeltsfield, signed a yearly contract to supply 1.5 million litres of wine to the Nanshan Group from Shandong.
  • In Shanghai, a contract was signed to supply South Australia food and wine, such as Tomich Wines, to Shanghai based supermarket chain RT-MART in an aisle dedicated to South Australia.
  • Children’s theatre company, Windmill Theatre, took its award-winning production of ‘Grug’ on a seven week tour of Shanghai and has been invited back to present the sequel, ‘Grug and the Rainbow’.



Want to know more?

A dedicated team is on hand to support businesses looking to export to China.