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Young entrepreneur Duco van Breemen: to serve as a bridge between Chinese and Australian enterprises

(People's Daily Online)    11:05, October 12, 2019

Sydney, Oct. 12 (People’s Daily Online/Yongye Wu) Haymarket HQ, located in Sydney Chinatown, is decorated in a traditional Chinese style on the outside. From the Terra Cotta Warrior model standing by the elevator to the red lanterns hanging in the lobby, all showing its connection with China.

As an incubator, Haymarket HQ provides co-working space, mentorship, and education to start-ups and companies wanting to tap into Asia especially the Chinese markets.

Here we talked with Mr. Duco van Breemen, General Manager of Haymarket HQ. As Duco told us, Australia and China are closely interlinked. The connection is only going to increase while most Australian entrepreneurs haven’t realized it or have trouble in dealing with the complex Chinese market due to culture and language gaps. Haymarket HQ is to create more awareness about the opportunities in Asia, particularly China, and help early-stage entrepreneurs capitalize on the opportunity with comprehensive information and network.

Duco first went to China in 2008. He recalls that’s when China was up and coming in a way still not well known outside of being the factory of the world at the time. “I excitedly found China was incredibly vibrant. It was a country where people were looking forward to tomorrow and where you can see that everybody wanted to move faster and quicker,” says he.

There he got a degree from Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, which led him to pursue a graduate degree in Management at the University of Nottingham in Ningbo. “Even after spending seven to eight years, I still felt I only probably scratched the surface in terms of understanding the culture and country because it's such a large and diverse country with such a rich history,” says Duco.

Duco was then recruited by a Dutch group in Shanghai to help set up one of the first industrial incubators to help foreign technology companies expand into the Chinese market. Duco saw a gigantic shift occurring in China through all these years. “When I left in 2016, China was more expansive than most western nations. It was more advanced in various industries, such as e-commerce and has become a market leader in various industries,” he said. His eight-year study and work experiences in China became the basis for his successful development of Haymarket HQ to some degree.

Since its establishment in September 2016, Haymarket HQ has received strong support from the Australian Federal Government, the government of New South Wales, the Sydney City Council and Chinese and Australian enterprises. Within three years, Haymarket HQ has provided support for more than 500 enterprises to enter the Chinese market. To help more entrepreneurs explore the market, Haymarket HQ has developed several quality projects including "China Canvas Challenge" and "Sydney Landing Plan". Earlier this year, the first program they launched attracted 10 companies valuing at half billion dollars.

When mentioned about opportunities for Chinese and Australian enterprises, Duco believes Chinese and Australian markets are complementary to a very large extent. “We both have something that the other one wants.” He takes education as an example, pointing out that Australia has a competitive advantage in some specific fields. As for Chinese enterprises, Australia is a small but wealthy market that is open to trying new products and services, which makes it a good place to test products. Several outstanding Chinese enterprises, including Alibaba, JD, Didi, and Mobike, have launched products and services in Australia.

“Don't overlook China. Don't just stare at the US or Silicon Valley,” he suggests to Australian entrepreneurs. “Statistics demonstrate that two-thirds of the world's middle class will be in Asia in 2020. If you want to be part of the growth, start looking towards Asia and particularly China.”

Duco believes the relationship between China and Australia continues to get even closer as time goes by. He also hopes more innovative Chinese companies come to Australia for their business.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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