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Launch cements Asian focus for business

by Katrina Phelps

At the Centre launch (from left) Professor Gerry Griffin, Pro Vice Chancellor Division of Business; Councillor Houssam Abiad; the Hon Jack Snelling, Treasurer and Minister for Employment, Training and Further Education; Professor Ying Zhu, Director of the Centre for Asian Business; Mr Hieu Van Le AO, Lieutenant Governor of South Australia and Chairman of the South Australian Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission; and Professor Peter Høj, UniSA Vice Chancellor.At the Centre launch (from left) Professor Gerry Griffin,
Pro Vice Chancellor Division of Business; Councillor Houssam Abiad; the Hon Jack Snelling, Treasurer and Minister for Employment, Training and Further Education; Professor Ying Zhu, Director of the Centre for Asian Business; Mr Hieu Van Le AO, Lieutenant Governor of South Australia and Chairman of the South Australian Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission; and Professor Peter Høj,
UniSA Vice Chancellor.

UniSA’s Centre for Asian Business was officially launched last week. The Centre, within the International Graduate School of Business, aims to make an important contribution to Australia’s understanding of the nature of Asian business and encourage valuable partnerships between the business community and academic institutions.

The Centre has just entered its second year of operation but only recently employed a dedicated Director, and therefore formalised the strategic direction for the Centre.

Centre Director, Professor Ying Zhu, highlighted the importance for Australia to understand the dynamic Asian economies and markets.

“With the rapid growth of the Asian economies, the study of Asian business and management has become an issue of international importance, particularly in the case of Australia, given the significance of these economies to our international trading relations and economic prosperity,” Prof Zhu said.

“There is a need to expand Australia’s knowledge of the Asian region, to conduct quality research and ensure that research findings are accessible and applicable to Australian companies who aspire to engage in business, trade or partnerships with their Asian counterparts.”

Director of the Centre for Asian Business, Professor Ying Zhu.Director of the Centre for Asian Business, Professor Ying Zhu.

Prof Zhu (pictured right) highlighted these issues at the Centre’s official launch to the South Australian public on May 12. Joining Prof Zhu in launching the Centre was UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Høj and Division of Business Pro Vice Chancellor Professor Gerry Griffin.

Professor Griffin congratulated the Centre on its extraordinary achievements thus far.

“In its short history the Centre has supported 22 individual research projects across the Division of Business; jointly coordinated two international symposia which brought together leading academics from across Asia, the United States and Australia; and hosted a number of distinguished international visitors, who worked with Centre affiliates to expand the knowledge, research capacity and networks of our research community,” said Prof Griffin.

He also noted that the focus of the Centre was on Australia’s dominant trading partners, a focus which would allow the Centre to make a major contribution to the nation’s future growth and prosperity.

Prof Zhu also shed light on the Centre’s future strategy, announcing that in 2011 and 2012, the Centre will establish its domestic and international advisory boards of highly regarded academics and business leaders, to assist in developing its regional presence and relevance, and continue to build and foster strong partnerships with the local and international business and academic communities.

Also in attendance at the launch were prominent South Australian governmental representatives, including the Hon Jack Snelling MP, South Australian Treasurer and Minister for Employment, Training and Further Education; Hieu Van Le AO, Lieutenant Governor of South Australia and Chairman of the South Australian Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission; Keith Gardner, SA State Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and Professor Alfred Huang, South Australian Special Envoy to China.

Prof Zhu said that engagement with South Australia’s local government and business sectors formed an important aspect of the cross-disciplinary Centre’s core strategy.

“In coming years the Centre will work to encourage and support the development of world-class research and public policy debate concerning the dynamically changing nature of the Asian business environment,” he said.

“It will also work to support the development of the University’s research and publication capacity through the promotion of a thriving, dynamic, high-quality research culture which, through our industry and international academic engagement, will simultaneously influence global scholastic, industrial and governmental spheres.”

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