Beijing is a cultural and economic powerhouse with a growing urbanised population.
Beijing is a cultural and economic powerhouse with a growing urbanised population. Supplied

Chinese in Australia: How we are changing as a country

CHINA used to copy the world and now the world copies China.

And far from being just a poor communist country, China is now a huge economic force.

That's according to author Barry Li who said China has transformed itself into a major political, economic and social leader.

Mr Li, who has just released The New Chinese: How They Are Changing Australia said there was more to the Asian nation than most of us realised.

The 'new Chinese' are changing Australia because they are more educated, savvy and financially stable, helping to make huge contributions to our way of life, he said.

The author said he wrote the book because the new Chinese have emerged as a powerful economic force and he felt Australia could benef more from this.

However there remained a lot of cultural misunderstanding between the two cultures, which could "make or break a business deal."

Barry Li at home with his two young sons Alexander, 5 and Nathan 2.
Barry Li at home with his two young sons Alexander, 5 and Nathan 2. Supplied

"China has changed massively since the Cultural Revolution, it has grown from one of the poorest developing countries to the world's second largest economy, " Mr Li said.

"Some people in Australia might think it's a big poor country and while there is still poverty, there's also a massive middle class."

Mr Li, who immigrated permanently to Australia in 2011, had initially come to the country as a student.

But when he returned to China after completing his studies and working in Australia he and wife Zhen found a China "they no longer recognised".

Mr Li said China had been transformed by an economic boom.

Despite the transformation and a baby on the way, the couple decided the Australian way of life was too good to ignore.

The couple now call Australia home but Mr Li said he always wanted his sons to know about their heritage.

He and his family are among those who make up the "new Chinese".

Mr Li said he wrote the book as a guide because he felt there was a gap between what people thought about China and what the country and culture was really about.

The Chinese offered huge investment opportunities, but Mr Li said understanding the cultural differences was crucial in ensuring they flourished.

Barry pictured with his father Yanjiang Li and mother Xiaoyu Gao in 1999 in Beijing’s Summer Palace.
Barry pictured with his father Yanjiang Li and mother Xiaoyu Gao in 1999 in Beijing’s Summer Palace. Supplied

And he said it was crucial when it came to business.

"Australia has a great culture that the Chinese really admire," he said.

"But the main cultural difference today is family."

Mr Li said family ties and taking care of each other was vital in Chinese culture and, just as his in laws looked after them following the birth of his first child, he and his wife would do the same when they're older.

Mr Li, a certified practising accountant and auditor, said China was also looking to invest in Australia in areas such as agriculture, health, real estate and education.

"Australian products are in high demand, it's hard to say what the next boom (product) will be," he said.

While he couldn't predict what the future had in store for China, Mr Li said he felt positive about his place of birth.

"China is constantly changing and developing and is making advances in technology," he said.

"It's gone from being a copy cat of the world to the world copying it."

debra.killalea@news.com.au

News Corp Australia


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