Using sister city relationships to access the Chinese market: new avenues for SMEs in regional Australia


The purpose of this paper is to offer a new approach for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Australia to engage in sustainable trade with China through the use of Sister City relationships. The reason for writing this paper is to address this research gap with the aim of influencing government policy at the national and the local level. The main methods used is a historical literature review, a critical review of the effectiveness of the Sister City relationships and an examination of a special Sister City relationship between Latrobe City in Australia and the Chinese city of Taizhou. Throughout the course of the paper it was established that Sister City relationships had been insufficiently utilized as commercial facilitators and especially SMEs in regional Australia. This was especially evident in terms of trade relations with China. This conceptual paper will require further research at different levels. Future research should establish what Australian sister cities with China are actually doing and how a more focused relationship utilizing SMEs in their territory might be utilized. This is clearly a limitation with this conceptual paper, which it is hoped will be overcome with new research planned by the authors. The practical implications emerging from this paper is that Sister City relationships can be refocused from their current role to becoming structurally integrated into trade facilitators for SMEs in pursuing trade with China. Most Sister City relationships do not have a trade focus in the first instance. As a result of this paper we are hoping that local government policy makers and state government trade facilitators will see Sister City relationships in a new light. This paper brings to attention cases of Sister City relationships which have gravitated towards a trade focus (an exception like Latrobe City) in which results are already evident. A paper of this kind is directed at governments at all levels as well as SMEs who wish to work better with government

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Swinburne Research Bank

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oaioai:vtl.cc.swin.edu.au:swin:11100Last time updated on 5/26/2016

This paper was published in Swinburne Research Bank.

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