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Community engagement by Chinese firms in Australia: Practices and benefits

This research project aims to investigate the temporal and spatial dimensions of care and support work in personalised social care systems.

While much is said of the economic contributions of Chinese companies to Australia, there is limited understanding of the community engagement practices of Chinese companies. This project investigates the community engagement practices of key Chinese companies in Australia from both the perspectives of Chinese companies in Australia and their Australian communities. It also identifies the associated benefits of the community engagement practices to community and the Chinese companies.

The objectives of this project are to:

1) promote community engagement practices by Chinese companies to the wider Australian and Chinese communities

2) assist Chinese companies to better engage their local communities in Australia

3) enhance the understanding of the social and cultural benefits of Chinese investment in Australia, and foster social and business relationships among Australian communities, Chinese businesses, and associated stakeholders.

A total of 56 interviews have been conducted with managers from Chinese companies, community group leaders, and government officials from August 2013 to May 2014. The Chinese companies participating in this project operate in several industries, including mining, agricultural, banking, airlines, manufacturing, telecommunications, and trading industries.

Two field trips were also made to regional areas to conduct interviews and gather tangible benefits of corporate community engagement. In addition, an extensive literature review on community engagement has been conducted.

This report categorised the community engagement practices by Chinese companies into five groups: enrichment of community’s social life and wellbeing, education, entrepreneurship development, enterprise development, and empowerment of community (5Es). It also highlights their associated benefits to the communities and Chinese companies, and suggests how Chinese companies and local community can better engage to achieve win-win outcomes. This is the first report on community engagement by Chinese companies in a foreign country.

Key people

Xueli (Charlie) Huang and Warren Staples