China is Western Australia’s largest merchandise export market. Western Australia exported A$68.4 billion of merchandise to China in 2018, with the top exports being iron ore, gold, petroleum, lithium and nickel ore. China is Western Australia’s largest export market for iron ore, lithium and nickel ore, while Western Australia is the largest source of iron ore for China.
China is Western Australia’s largest source of merchandise imports. Western Australia imported A$4.7 billion of merchandise from China in 2018, with the top imports being furniture, base metal manufactures, and industrial machinery and equipment.
China is Australia’s 5th largest source of foreign direct investment (A$40.1 billion in 2018), while China is the 7th largest destination for Australia’s direct investment abroad (A$13.5 billion in 2018).
In 1999, Australia became the first western country to be granted Approved Destination Status by the Chinese Government, permitting Chinese tourism in Australia. Western Australia had 61,000 visitors and over 8,400 students from China in 2018. China is Western Australia’s largest market for international students. For Western Australian tourists, China is the 9th most popular overseas destination, with 26,000 Western Australians visiting China in 2017-18.
Chinese people reside in Western Australia. In 2016, 104,000 Western Australian residents had Chinese ancestry and 27,000 were born in China.
Western Australia has had a Sister-State Agreement with Zhejiang Province since 1987, which supports regular science, technology, research and exchange programs, and provides for other trade, business and cultural interactions. Western Australia has also had a Memorandum of Understanding with China’s National Development and Reform Commission since 2011 to encourage investment and industry development in Western Australia and China, particularly in resources, energy and infrastructure.
The Western Australian Government is a co‑funder of the $25 million Australia‑China Natural Gas Technology Partnership Fund, with the Commonwealth Government and the North West Shelf Joint Venture.
The Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation supports Western Australia’s investment and trade with China through its Shanghai Office, which was established in 1996.