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Ten businesses from the Latrobe Valley and broader Gippsland area recently met face-to-face with some of China’s biggest companies as part of a Victorian Government trade mission that will help the region’s economy to diversify and grow.

The mission was led by Minister for Small Business Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis and will help Latrobe Valley based businesses break into new markets in China and potentially around the world.

“We’re connecting businesses from the Latrobe Valley and Gippsland to China, our biggest trading partner, so they can find new markets to help their businesses expand. Following the mission these companies are now in a position to take advantage of new trading opportunities that will grow the Latrobe Valley’s economy and jobs.”

Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis

The Gippsland companies, which represented Victoria’s food and fibre, engineering and professional services sectors, joined 33 other companies from Victoria who presented at SIAL China – Asia’s largest food innovation exhibition.

A highlight of the mission was a visit to the headquarters of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, where delegates met with executives in a bid to promote more Victorian products on the successful Tmall and Taobao platforms, which provide opportunities for businesses to sell products and services in China simply and without overheads.

During the Alibaba tour, delegates had the chance to speak in person with executives from the multi-billion dollar company and see how operations are run on the ground.

All participating companies said the trip proved valuable with Traralgon based Image Direct indicating it will be exploring opportunities on the Alibaba e-commerce platforms.

STR Inspection Services, Optec Pty Ltd, Image Direct Pty Ltd, Tabro Meats Pty Ltd, Pure Harvest and Alpine Trout Farm have also indicated favourable outcomes from the trade mission, while another two companies are already planning to return for further discussions with Chinese businesses.

Some of the companies visiting China, including STR Inspection Services and Optec Pty Ltd, were identified through the Victorian Government’s Hazelwood Supply Chain Transition Program (HSCTP) as businesses that would benefit from exposure to new international markets.

The HSCTP focuses on retaining industry capability and jobs in the Latrobe Valley that might otherwise be lost due to the Hazelwood closure and is part of the Victorian Government’s $40 million Latrobe Valley Economic Development Program.