What is the economic and political environment for doing business in China?


September 2015

Australia has long had a strong relationship with China, and with its rapidly growing economy over the last decade and geographical proximity, it is an obvious destination for Australian businesses.

Export relationship

  • China is Australia's largest export market
  • Australia exported $90 billion of goods and $8 billion in services to China in 2014
  • China now buys almost a third of Australia’s exports
  • Chinese-Australian investment relations lag behind trade, tourism and education but the ties are thickening fast

Economic climate

  • China’s economic transformation over recent decades has made it an attractive destination for investors and exporters
  • Over the past 10 years, real GDP has expanded by an average 10% p.a.
  • China is currently undergoing a structural slowdown — growth is expected to moderate over the medium term
  • In recent months, China’s equity markets have suffered a sharp downturn
  • A raft of policy measures have since restored investor confidence and stabilised markets
  • China’s economic slowdown and volatile equity market has pushed down the prices of Australia’s key mining exports
  • Non-mining exporters may benefit from a weaker exchange rate

Political climate

  • The World Bank ranks China in the second bottom quartile of economies for three dimensions of governance: rule of law; political stability and absence of violence; and control of corruption
  • China scores in the lowest quartile of the World Bank ratings for voice and accountability

Find out more

Find more detailed information about China’s economic and political climate here.


Over a quarter of Australian SME exporters pointed to China as their most important export market – Export Finance Australia’s SME Exporter Sentiment Index, April 2015.