Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Andrew Charlton: New Opportunities

Andrew Charlton is a co-founder and Director at AlphaBeta, a strategy advising business that serves clients across Australia and Asia.

He and some of his colleagues have traveled to China in September 2015 to find out how the changes in its economy will affect Australia, China’s biggest trade partner. They met with dozens of business leaders and government officials and soon determined they were asking the wrong question. What they really need to find out, he said, is how Australia can adapt to make sure it continues to profit, even as China’s economy changes.

“We continue to believe that China’s economy will slow further,” he wrote in a report prepared after the China trip. “But, for Australian businesses, more important than how fast China grows, is the question of where it grows?” China’s economy, he said, is not just slowing down. “It’s changing lanes. To make the most of new circumstances, Australia will have to change as well.”

The trip confirmed what he and his AlphaBeta colleagues had already determined. The present economic situation in China presents growth problems for Australia that could last as long as ten years. The good news is that Australia can act to take advantage of new opportunities that come with the changes.

Andrew Charlton was a Senior Economic Advisor to former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. He is an Oxford-educated economist who received his doctorate as a Rhodes Scholar. He is one of the few Australian economists to anticipate the slowing in China’s economy and its impact on commodity prices, questioning as early as 2011 whether China would be able to sustain its double-digit economic growth rates.

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