​Federal government selects Shanghai for its next landing pad

The Australian government has announced its intention to set up a startup landing pad in Shanghai, after locking in space in Silicon Valley and confirming Tel Aviv as its next target.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Shanghai has been revealed by the federal government as a desirable third location for its AU$11 million startup landing pad initiative.

In a joint announcement made by Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne, the Treasurer Scott Morrison, and Minister for Trade and Investment Steve Ciobo, the liberal trio said that the government intends to consult with the Chinese government on its landing pad proposal.

"Shanghai was being positioned by the Chinese government as a global centre for technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship," they said in a statement.

According to Morrison, who is currently visiting Shanghai for the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting, recent changes to the city's labour market is opening its economy to further opportunities for Australian entrepreneurs.

"These changes have attracted the global attention of investors and entrepreneurs with an eye on China's 618 million internet users and 300 million ecommerce shoppers," he said.

"Additionally, China's rapid economic growth and increasing centrality to the global economy mean its markets represent an exceptional opportunity for Australian entrepreneurs aiming for global scale and impact, particularly as our services-oriented economy is stepping up to the wicket."

The trio said that a landing pad in Shanghai would further strengthen Australia's trade relationship with China, and that the city's history of commerce and entrepreneurship makes it a good entry point to the huge Chinese market.

"Entrepreneurs accessing the landing pads will be assisted to commercialise their products and services through access to the expertise, infrastructure, and innovation and marketing networks of local partners," Pyne said.

"Landing pads are a key component of our agenda because they will build international collaboration performance by emerging Australian companies, enabling them to leverage the entrepreneurial expertise in these strategic hubs."

Silicon Valley was revealed last Friday as the inaugural landing pad location, with the initiative taking up tenancy at RocketSpace technology campus in San Francisco.

Like with the one intended for launch in China's central coast, Ciobo said the landing pad at RocketSpace is designed to help Australian entrepreneurs bring their ideas to market and build high-growth and high-return enterprises.

Tel Aviv was also announced as a host city for the government-funded project.

Each of the five landing pads will have its own locally engaged coordinator who the government said will bring their unique knowledge and experience to the table.

"The person that will be coordinating this will be [determined] by going out to an open tender. My hope is that we get a pretty successful entrepreneur who is connected to the networks over here to fill that role," Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy said on ABC RN Breakfast Radio.

"It's a pretty exciting role, it's a job I wouldn't mind having -- so we'll go out to market to fill that physical role."

The AU$11 million cash injection given to Austrade for these landing pads forms part of the government's AU$1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda.

In December, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull pledged a total of AU$36 million over five years for its Global Innovation Strategy, aimed at improving Australia's international innovation and science collaboration.

"Innovation in our economy is key to our nation's future jobs and growth which is why the government is vigorously implementing its National Innovation and Science Agenda," Pyne said.

"Landing pads form part of our global innovation strategy, a key component of the Agenda, which will give Australian entrepreneurs an opportunity to compete globally.

"Our global innovation strategy will advance Australia's international collaboration performance and encourage Australians to leverage entrepreneurial expertise found in key locations overseas."

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