A record audience of more than 80 guests made the QJCCI's 2019 'bonenkai' networking event a great success, held for the first time at the standout venue of the Stamford Plaza Brisbane hotel on the river.
The December 5 event was opened by VIP attendee, Japan Consul-General Kazunari Tanaka, who highlighted some of the major events of 2019 for Japan, including the enthronement of a new Emperor, the start of the Reiwa era and for sports fans the Rugby World Cup.
QJCCI President Chris Whitecross thanked members and guests for their attendance and pointed to the Chamber's growth in membership over the past year, with more regular events, a new website and other initiatives helping to further boost Queensland-Japan business and investment activity.
The networking event featured delicious canapes and Queensland wines, served by the friendly and efficient staff of the QJCCI's Premium Member.
The night finished with the awarding of door prizes to attendees and a reminder by Mr Whitecross of the QJCCI's first event for 2020, the "shinnenkai" new year networking (stay tuned for details!).
For more photos from the bonenkai, please visit the QJCCI's Facebook page.
Japan is the world's third-largest economy and Australia's second-largest trading partner as well as being a significant investor.
How can exporters tap into this major market?
QJCCI President Chris Whitecross joined an expert panel at a webinar hosted by the CCIQ on November 25, exploring the many benefits of exporting to Japan and how to capitalise on Australia's free trade agreement with Japan known as JAEPA (Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement).
For a recording of the webinar, click here.
The QJCCI has welcomed a delegation from Japan's Saitama Prefecture to Brisbane as part of the celebration of the 35th anniversary of Sister State ties.
Since the start of the Sister State relationship in 1984, Queensland's ties with Saitama Prefecture near Tokyo have strengthened, with increased co-operation on areas including trade, education, tourism and business.
Events welcoming the Saitama Prefecture delegation, which included government and business representatives, included a female entrepreneurs' luncheon hosted by former QJCCI President, Ling Raines; a QJCCI Executive/Saitama delegation lunch at Tattersalls Club in Brisbane; an official reception at the Japan Consul-General's residence; and a State Reception at Parliament House hosted by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
Unfortunately, due to the tragic events of Typhoon Hagibis, Saitama Governor Motohiro Ono was unable to lead the delegation as originally scheduled.
However the participants from both Japan and Queensland showed a strong commitment to further strengthening ties as the relationship deepens into new areas.
This was shown at the female entrepreneurs' luncheon, where the Queensland attendees comprised Charlton Brown, Dello Mano, Flavour Creations, GoNap, iStaysafe, Manbullo, Mulberry Seed Communication and Sobah.
Commenting on the events, QJCCI President Chris Whitecross said: "Queensland's relationship with Saitama Prefecture remains excellent and this latest visit highlights the importance our Japanese friends attach to the relationship. We welcome further co-operation with Saitama Prefecture and Japan as we work to deepen mutually beneficially business, investment and trade ties in the decades to come."
With a population exceeding 7.2 million, Saitama Prefecture is Tokyo's neighbour to the north, featuring historical destinations such as the former castle town of Kawagoe together with a thriving industrial base and services sector. For more information, please visit this website.
QJCCI members elected a new Management Committee for fiscal 2020 at the Chamber's October 8 AGM, kindly hosted by QJCCI Premium member Hall Chadwick in Brisbane.
The new committee is as follows:
- President: Chris Whitecross, Arrowdynamics
- Vice President (English speaking): Michael Cameron, Hall Chadwick
- Vice President (Japanese speaking)/Secretary: Yuzo Araki
- Treasurer: Constantine Splawa-Newman, Macquarie Bank
- Committee members: Anthony Fensom, Republic PR; Julio Santana, JFE Shoji Trade Australia; Robert Whiddon; Julie Yamamoto, 2K16 Consulting.
Welcoming the new committee, QJCCI President Chris Whitecross noted the Chamber's progress over the past year and its plans for further growth in fiscal 2020.
"The past year has been a very successful one for the Chamber. We remain in a financially strong position and have made significant internal changes that have improved our ability to better support our members," he said.
"Our membership continues to grow and has increased significantly during the last 12 months, having risen by some 60 per cent."
Mr Whitecross pointed to recent activities, including a new QJCCI website, new logo and marketing materials, regular monthly newsletters and an increasing number of functions, aimed at benefitting members.
"We have already set a preliminary timetable for a full set of events over the coming year, which we hope to also include a number of collaborative events with other Chambers. We are always looking for ideas from our members as to how we can assist them by providing relevant and interesting speakers and topics at our events," he said.
"The QJCCI continues to actively seek ways to assist its members develop their business links with Japan, to provide support and assistance wherever possible. We are looking forward to a very successful 2020."
The Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) has delivered significant benefits and opportunities to Queensland's agribusiness sector.
Maximising the opportunities for Australian agribusiness and other exporters was the focus of a seminar held on September 26, entitled “How to benefit from JAEPA as an agribusiness.”
The event was hosted by QJCCI and the CCIQ (Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland) at Victoria Park, Herston and hosted a range of presentations concerning how to do business with Japan, currently Australia's second-largest agribusiness market with exports worth nearly A$5 billion in fiscal 2018.
The presenters comprised QJCCI President, Chris Whitecross, CCIQ's Diana Gueorguieva, ExportOne Consulting's Kenneth Bennett and Frosty Boy's Managing Director, Dirk Pretorius. They gave the audience useful advice on a range of subjects, including Japan market entry strategy, JAEPA Certificate of Origin requirements, cultural learnings and a case study based on Frosty Boy's experiences.
QJCCI's Mr Whitecross pointed to opportunities for Australian businesses in areas including innovative technology, education, horticulture and resources, with emerging opportunities in advanced healthcare, robotics and smart technology.
And with Japan currently the world's third-largest economy, the opportunities for Australian companies remain abundant in the Land of the Rising Sun, Australia's democratic ally in Asia.
CCIQ received funding for this activity from Austrade as part of the Free Trade Agreement Market Entry Grant Program.
Japan is the world's third-largest economy and remains an attractive market for foreign companies, including from Australia. Yet entering a new market poses its own challenges, particularly one with a distinctive culture and language such as Japan.
If learning from the mistakes of others is essential, then Tokyo-based Dr Garry Bickle, gave numerous examples from some major corporations of what not to do when approaching Japan at this informative and entertaining event, kindly hosted by DFAT at its Queensland office in Brisbane on September 5.
Dr Bickle, a 30-year-plus Japan resident and automotive industry expert, gave some examples of major failures in Japan by foreign companies across the telecommunications, automotive and other sectors.
The excuses given for such failures usually include Japan's corporate structure, bureaucracy, language, culture and strong local competition, but Dr Bickle suggested it was usually more an issue for the foreign entrant's head office.
"Some of the typical failures include hiring intercultural experts based near headquarters and not Japan; not tailoring the product to the Japanese market; disrespecting Japanese customers; and expecting overnight results," he said.
"Committing any of these mistakes can result in being shown the door - and possibly not being welcomed back for decades."
Dr Bickle has been advising foreign companies on entering Japan for over 30 years and is keen to share insights on his experiences for the benefit of new entrants. He serves as an Adjunct Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Queensland and is the founder/owner of Japan advisory firm GMBPGM tEChOvision.
QJCCI wishes to thank DFAT Queensland for hosting this event provided exclusively for QJCCI members.
Japan's role as Asia's first host of the Rugby World Cup (RWC) later this year was the subject of the QJCCI's latest event, held at Tattersall's Club in Brisbane on July 25.
With thousands of international visitors expected, including many from Australia, what might tourists expect at the tournament running from September 20 to November 2?
Former Wallabies Mark Connors and Ian Williams gave the attentive audience some fascinating insights into rugby, Japan and their post-sporting careers in business at another entertaining event, with VIP guests including Mr Kazunari Tanaka, Consul-General of Japan in Brisbane.
Williams, currently a partner at law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, described his experiences as a pioneering Australian rugby player in Japan, where he helped Kobe Steel win the All-Japan championship seven times during the 1990s. The only player to have represented both Australia and Japan, Williams overcame his initial culture shock to become an established member of his team, ultimately representing Japan before returning to Australia.
Connors, who played for Australia from 1999-2000 and was part of Australia's 1999 RWC winning team, arrived in Japan after a stint in England. Similar to Williams, he quickly became a key player for his team, entering the financial services industry upon his playing retirement in Australia.
Both Connors and Williams have continued their association with Japan, with Connors a Board member of the Australia Japan Foundation and Williams serving as Vice-President of the Australia Japan Business Co-operation Committee.
Asked who would win this year's event, neither tipped the Wallabies or Japan but given past history, both teams could spring their share of surprises.
After Japan's previous successful hosting of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the RWC is likely to serve as excellent preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with Japan set to bask in the international sporting spotlight for some time yet.
Queensland Minister for State Development, the Hon. Cameron Dick together with the Japan Consul-General, Kazunari Tanaka were among a host of dignitaries to join the QJCCI's exclusive member-only networking event on June 20.
Other attendees included representatives of federal trade organisations Austrade and Export Finance Australia together with Trade and Investment Queensland, together with QJCCI members both new and longstanding.
Hosted by QJCCI Premium Member, Hall Chadwick Qld at its Brisbane head office, the event gave Chamber members the opportunity to exchange views on recent developments and future plans following a year of significant growth for the Chamber.
Welcoming attendees, QJCCI President Chris Whitecross noted the strengthening of the Australia-Japan relationship, with increasing outbound Japanese investment and record numbers of Australians travelling to Japan.
The increased investment has been seen in Nippon Paint's $4.2 billion takeover of Dulux and TAL Dai-ichi Life's $640 million acquisition of Suncorp's life insurance business, while in Queensland, Sekisui House is developing the $1.5 billion Ripley Town Centre in Ipswich's western corridor.
Meanwhile, Australian tourists are flocking to Japan, with upcoming major sporting events including the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics set to attract even more overseas visitors.
"This is an exciting time for Japan's relationship with Queensland and Australia and the Chamber is keen to play its part in helping members participate in this excellent relationship," Mr Whitecross said.
For Queensland, the upcoming visit by the Saitama Governor to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the sister state relationship is among this year's major highlights.
Mr Whitecross pointed to the Chamber's upcoming Rugby World Cup event on July 25 featuring former Wallabies Ian Williams and Mark Connors, together with the Chamber's recent initiatives including a new website and regular newsletters.
He noted the 70 per cent increase in membership since last September, welcoming new members at the event including Advantage Day Trips, Stamford Plaza Brisbane and Toshiba.
And with Queensland's ties with Japan now expanding into new areas including its emerging hydrogen industry, the relationship with our second-largest trading partner and democratic ally in Asia is set to strengthen even further.
For photos from the night, please visit the QJCCI Facebook page.
Australia's economic sunshine has seen the 'Lucky Country' post a world-beating unbeaten economic growth streak running since 1991. Yet with the global economy slowing amid threats of trade war, local worries over the housing market in Sydney and Melbourne and the federal election, will the good times last?
On May 15, QJCCI members and guests were given an insightful view of Australia's economic future by Michael Knox, Chief Economist and Director of Strategy at Morgans at this breakfast event at Tattersall's Club in Brisbane.
With his experience including posts as Australian Trade Commissioner to Saudi Arabia and Indonesia along with a range of Queensland Government advisory committees, QUT and The City of Brisbane Investment Corporation, Mr Knox had plenty of wisdom to impart as he returned for his second presentation to the QJCCI just days ahead of the federal election and the financial year-end.
Fortunately for his attentive audience, Mr Knox suggested the outlook remained positive, with global economic growth projected to only slightly slow in 2019-20.
According to the economist, U.S. GDP growth will ease from 2.9% in 2018 to 2.7% this year and 2.1% in 2020, while the Eurozone will slow to 1.3% this year before picking up to 1.6% in 2020.
Japan, the world's third-largest economy, is seen posting 1% GDP growth in 2019 and 0.5% in 2020.
Commenting on predictions of a near-term recession in the world's biggest economy, Mr Knox said: "Everyone tells you we are about to have a U.S. recession. We're not remotely close to it." However, despite the positive effects of U.S. tax cuts, he suggested a slowdown could still occur after mid-2020 or in 2021.
Meanwhile, Australia is expected to post a steady 2.8% expansion in both 2019 and 2020, helped by consistent GDP growth in the nation's major Asian trading partners and a recovery in the terms of trade driving unemployment lower. Longer term, India and Indonesia are seen continuing their rise into the ranks of major economies, while China is seen posting consistent growth.
Asked about interest rates, Mr Knox said the Reserve Bank of Australia would likely respond to weak inflation data by cutting interest rates twice in 2019, to a new record low cash rate of 1%.
Answering the theme of whether Australia's current economic growth streak would continue, Mr Knox suggested complacency could be the biggest risk.
"We got to this position not because we were lucky, but because we had challenges and we responded to them. Our problem now is not having had a recession for 28 years, we will feel we have no challenges and then you lose the political will to face challenges...that's the threat to the Lucky Country," he said.
QJCCI President Chris Whitecross thanked Mr Knox and Morgans for the presentation together with Madman Entertainment, sponsors of anime festival MadFest Brisbane, for contributing a lucky door prize which was won by Danny Lanfranco from Toshiba Australia.
For more photos from the night, please visit the QJCCI Facebook page.
Sunshine Coast Mayor, Cr Mark Jamieson provided a full house of members and guests with a fascinating insight into the many exciting transformational developments now occurring on the Sunshine Coast at our latest event held on March 26 at the Brisbane Club.
Many attendees heard for the first time of the International Broadband Network that will link the Sunshine Coast to Japan, the USA, Hong Kong and Guam. It will provide Australia’s fastest, most affordable international data and telecommunications connection with Asia.
The Mayor also highlighted the outstanding Sunshine Coast Solar Farm. The Council is Australia’s first local government to offset its entire electricity consumption across all its facilities and operations from renewable energy generated at the 15MW Sunshine Coast Solar Farm.
Other projects referred to by Mayor Jamieson were the expansion of the Sunshine Coast Airport, the development of the Maroochydore City Centre, the upgrade to the Bruce highway, large residential developments and the Sunshine Coast Light Rail project.
The Mayor also provided a basket of fine produce from the region as a lucky door prize, which was won by Luke Neylon from Neylon Language Services.
The usual networking and conviviality followed, rounding off a great night.
For photos from the night, please visit the QJCCI Facebook page.
Happy New Year 2019 (明けましておめでとうございます) from the Queensland Japan Chamber of Commerce & Industry!
The QJCCI welcomed in the Year of the Boar with a record gathering for our new year "shinnenkai" networking event on February 13 at the Brisbane Club, featuring a welcome address from VIP guest, Mr Kazunari Tanaka, Consul-General of Japan, Brisbane.
Mr Tanaka highlighted the strength of the Queensland-Japan relationship, drawing attention to the recent signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and the upcoming 35th anniversary of Saitama Prefecture's Sister State relationship with Queensland.
He pointed to positive economic data in Japan, the world's third-largest economy, including rising GDP and wages, along with record female participation in the labour force.
On the sporting front, the recently appointed Consul-General noted Japan's hosting of the 2019 Rugby World Cup - an event certain to attract many Australian visitors - along with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Following Mr Tanaka's speech, attendees undertook an organised networking event that ensured guests made new contacts during the evening.
Door prizes consisting of wine were also awarded to some lucky attendees.
For photos from the night, please visit the QJCCI Facebook page.