Diversified Chinese conglomerate New Hope Group Co Ltd's Australian expansion has taken another step, opening its Australian headquarters in Sydney on Thursday, eyeing further agribusiness acquisitions and an expansion of its fledgling real estate developments.
"I would like to think the next six to twelve months there will be plenty of opportunities for us, and we'll certainly be actively participating in the industry," New Hope Group Co Ltd Australia and New Zealand managing director and chief executive Nick Dowling told reporters.
The group has been forging a strong presence in Australia since 2013, officially beginning construction of its first luxury residential development in Sydney's northern suburbs on Wednesday.
"We do see a lot of opportunities in the property industry here in Australia," Dowling said.
New Hope Group Co Ltd is also eyeing to increase its investment in Australia's dairy industry, expand its healthcare products business, but also source new opportunities and potential new markets in food and agribusiness.
Scrutiny over direct foreign investment into Australia however has been intensified following the partial lease of the Port of Darwin to China's Landbridge that flamed the internal political debate surrounding direct foreign investment into Australia in November last year.
New Hope Group Co Ltd chairman Liu Yonghao told reporters at the launch he sees a lot of opportunities in the Australian market.
New Hope initially came into Australia to acquire pastoral land to raise its own cows under Chinese management, however their initial investigations found local farmers were quite the experts at producing milk, Liu said.
"Therefore a question was raised: if we'd fully taken over their management as a Chinese (company), are we able to better manage these farms or pastures ourselves? No, not necessarily so," Liu said.
This thinking transferred into its other acquisitions, including its recently acquired health product company Australian NaturalCare and the Kilcoy Pastoral Company Ltd (KPC) in 2013.
KCP has been integrated into New Hope's global supply chain of meat processors to service the different tastes from different corners of the international market, increasing the company's capacity to meet increasing demand for high quality protein products.
As such, its investment is eyeing to double processing capacity from 240,000 head of cattle per year after surging its local workforce from 600 to 900 employees.
"All these 900 (employees) were recruited locally," Liu said, adding "all we brought into these current companies is the capital and growth potential into the international market."
By bringing those people who know the local market, have local resources and are familiar with Australian laws and regulations, the company is able to growth "bigger and stronger, "he said.
It's a message the company is hoping to get across the local population following a populist wave of protectionism against foreign -- namely Chinese -- investment at the July federal election to help expand agribusiness operations, he said.
"We're very mindful of the local process, and work very closely with local partners and government to give a very clear understanding of who we are and how we operate and what we want to do," Dowling said.