The University of Newcastle, Australia

China Business Forum

Friday, 6 September from 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm (AEST)
Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort, Pokolbin

Event details

The beautiful Hunter Valley region will set the scene for the Business Forum drawing acknowledgement and discussion around China’s surge for Australian Wine demands and the Chinese tourism boom. The Hunter Valley region has enormous potential for growth in these areas with the Forum being perfectly convened in the prestigious Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort.

China Week 2019 is excited to include a food and wine pairing session with MasterChef 2018 Australia top 6 contestant, Reece Hignell, who will treat visitors’ taste buds with an Asian infused canapé selection.

The Forum will host internationally recognised speakers and panels to share insights and expertise. The aim is to prepare and support the industry for better engagement with China, as well as education of the growth of China e-commerce in trade and tourism.

Business Forum Tickets are $50.

Purchase tickets

Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort are pleased to offer the following rates for accommodation for the Newcastle China Week Business Forum:

  • 1 Bed Villa or Two Bedroom Lockoff villa @ $259 per night (full buffet breakfast for 1 person).
  • 2 Bed Villa @ $359 per night (full buffet breakfast for 2 people).

Book now with the promotion code CHINAWEEK

The audience will learn about:

  • the growth of China e-commerce
  • use of social media
  • useful tips to do business in China for the wine industry
  • Chinese consumer trends
  • cultural intelligence to engage with Chinese tourists
  • wine and food pairings

About the location

Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort, an iconic 300-acre resort with a golf and country club. It is an ideal venue for the Business Forum where interesting topics on ‘Wine and Tourism’ will be presented by leaders in the industry, and closed with a great food and wine pairing session.

Address: Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort
15 Thompsons Road, Pokolbin,
NSW 2320, Australia.


2019 Speakers

Professor Kevin Hall

Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice-President, Global Engagement & Partnerships, University of Newcastle

Professor Kevin Hall has hadProfessor Kevin Hall a distinguished academic career holding senior academic leadership roles in universities in Australia and Canada. Professor Hall studied a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science at Queen's University in Canada and completed his PhD in Civil Engineering at the University of New South Wales, Australia.


Professor Hall has spearheaded UON’s entrepreneurship and innovation initiatives, leading the establishment of the Integrated Innovation Network (I2N) of five innovation incubators across the Hunter region. He was also instrumental in state funding for the Hunter Innovation Project, including UON’s new Innovation Hub.


A highly respected leader in the Australian higher education sector, Professor Hall has been appointed to the Australia Research Council Advisory Council. He has also taken on a national role in developing industry and innovation policy, serving as an invited member of the Australian Research Council’s steering committee for Industry Engagement and Impact Metrics. He is also a founding board member of the Sydney School of Entrepreneurship and a member of the NSW Minister for Health’s China Advisory Committee. Professor Hall has been a board member on 18 state and national corporations and not-for-profit entities.


Mr Drew Waters (MC)

Director, Strategic Partnerships, AsiaLink Business

Following a long career in sales, Mr Drew Watersbusiness development, training, consulting, and design in Australia and New Zealand, Drew led AustCham Hong Kong & Macau, the peak body for Australian businesses in Hong Kong and southern China, as CEO.

Drew previously established his own company specializing in c-suite and board placements across the region, and has created and led teams of senior specialists within major regional recruiting companies.

He has strong links to some of the region’s largest financial institutions, multi-national commercial organisations, regional service providers, Government and political offices, trade professional bodies, and non-Government organisations. Drew is based in Sydney.


Ms Sharon Foster

Senior Export Adviser/Tradestartimage of Sharon Foster Adviser, NSW Government

Sharon is a Senior Export Adviser in the NSW Government (Trade and Investment), and a TradeStart Adviser within the TradeStart Network (Austrade), and is based at Ourimbah, at the University of Newcastle, Central Coast Campus. Sharon works with potential, new and existing exporters providing them with a range of export development advice, services and tools. Sharon has a diverse background and experience including working offshore in international markets. She has a Science Degree from the University of Newcastle, and Graduate Diplomas in Business, and International Business.

This presentation will focus on the top tips of exporting wine and food to North Asia
markets and how government can assist. Some examples of the opportunities in
North Asia markets will be highlighted.


Mr Mark Davidson

Managing Director, Tamburlaine Organic Wines

Since a stint of external studiesMark Davidson Headshot in viticulture and wine science at Riverina College NSW (now Charles Sturt Uni) in the 1970s, Mark’s enthusiasm for the industry has never waned. It was not, however, until 1985 that a door opened.

Having grown up in Newcastle, Mark was well familiar with the local Hunter producers, and when the founder of Tamburlaine, Dr Lance Allen decided to sell his 19yo boutique winery, Mark pulled together a group of investors and bought the business. His first vintage was 1986 – just under 2000 dozen bottles from the 10ha vineyard on the Pokolbin property. The following years saw the development of a very successful DTC business model, capitalising on the explosion of Hunter wine tourism. The direct sales model has evolved but is still a pillar of the operation.

Mr Davidson joining via video, reflects the sentiment of many Australian businesses
who identified key challenges in understanding and connecting with Chinese
customers, as well as managing regulatory hurdles. In order to better manage this,
Mr. Davidson is a strong advocate for establishing long-term localised networks and
connections with industry experts.


Ms Irma DupuisPhoto of Irma

Head of Branding, Strategy and Communications, Tamburlaine Organic Wines

After a one-year exchange in Liaoning, China, Irma studied Chinese language, culture and civilisation at the University of Languages and Civilisations in Paris. Having worked in France and internationally, she joined Tamburlaine in 2017 and has been designing brand strategies and managing innovative programmes dedicated to Chinese visitors. Irma holds a double Master of Management, a MSc in Wine Business Management and a Wine & Spirits Education Trust Level 3 Award in Wines.


Dr Peter Cock

Chief Executive Officer, Newcastle AirportPeter Cock

As Chief Executive Officer of Newcastle Airport, Dr Peter Cock brings a breadth of experience to the role in a range of disciplines.

With more than 15 years of aviation experience, Peter has held senior executive positions at both Newcastle and Perth Airport.

Under Peter’s leadership, Newcastle Airport has achieved record passenger throughput and record profits, which are delivered back into the community through dividends to Newcastle Airport’s Council owners, City of Newcastle and Port Stephens Council. Committed to working closely with Department of Defence, airlines, industry, and stakeholders, Peter strives to achieve the vision of providing the region with the airport it deserves.

China remains Australia’s leading tourism market with annual visitation numbers
expected to more than double by 2027. Newcastle Airport CEO, Peter Cock, believes that increasing international
aviation capacity in our region and developing a strong destination brand is key to
capitalising on this growth. The role Newcastle Airport plays in this emerging story will only grow in importance
over time.


Dr Luca De Leonardis

Head for Australia and New Zealand, Invest Hong Kong The Government of
the Hong Kong Special Administrative RegionLuca headshot

Dr Luca De Leonardis is the Head for Australia and New Zealand at Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK), the Government Department responsible for attracting and facilitating foreign direct investment into Hong Kong.

With senior management experience in both the private and public sectors, Dr De Leonardis’s work experience combines international marketing, economic and business development and investment promotion.

Prior to joining InvestHK, Dr De Leonardis spent five years as Deputy CEO of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Australia. He also worked in New Zealand, Canada and South Africa for private companies and trade organizations and in Brisbane as Adjunct Senior Lecturer at Griffith University.

Dr De Leonardis holds a Ph.D. In Economics, a Master in Management & Strategy and a Master in International Trade from Bologna University and two advanced diplomas in Business and Management and Economics.

Dr De Leonardis will present the latest opportunities and trends in the wine sector
for Australian companies willing to expand in Hong Kong.


Ms Bonnie Shekimage of Bonnie Shek

Director, Australia/New Zealand, of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council

Bonnie has extensive marketing, business development and management experience in Asia/Pacific. Before joining the HKTDC, she spent over ten years in the telecommunications industry, being responsible for developing marketing strategy and leading the Asia/Pacific consumer team.

This presentation will share the latest market intelligence on wine positioning in
Hong Kong and how the recently signed Australia-HK FTA will enhance wine trading
between the two regions and beyond.


Dr Paul Stolk

Lecturer, Newcastle Business School, The University of NewcastlePaul Stolk

As graduate from the University of Newcastle, Paul began his professional career as policy officer for the Commonwealth Department of Transport and Regional Services (1997-1999), and later the NSW Environment Protection Authority (1999-2000). Returning to higher education, Paul completed his PhD at the University of Newcastle in 2009, and from 2009-2011 was employed as a lead researcher for sport and tourism with Substance, a leading social research cooperative in Manchester, UK. Since returning to Newcastle in 2012, Paul has been employed as a lecturer by the Newcastle Business School, where he teaches, researches and publishes in the tourism, sport and marketing disciplines.

From 2012-2015 Paul was the primary researcher and project manager for the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association (HVWTA) 'Tourism Monitor' project, which worked closely with leaders in the Hunter Valley wine industry and generated local market intelligence for HVWTA tourism businesses. More recently Paul was the co-convenor and scientific committee chair for the 28th annual CAUTHE conference 2018, an international conference for tourism, hospitality and event educators hosted by the Newcastle Business School.

This presentation discusses the latest academic research segmenting the Chinese
wine tourist market according to ‘involvement’, and considers the implications for
wine tourism destinations, such as the Hunter Valley. The discussion is framed
around the Destination NSW Food and Wine Tourism Strategy and Action Plan 2018-
2022, and TRA’s 2019 report on Chinese Free and Independent Travellers (FITs).


Dr Tamara Young

Senior Lecturer, Newcastle Business School, The University of Newcastle

photo of tamara young

Tamara Young is a senior lecturer who has researched the social and cultural
significance of tourism for over fifteen years. Her research focuses on the impacts
of travel and tourism on people, places, cultures and communities. She has
published widely on these topics including her book Tourist cultures: identity, place
and the traveller. Tamara is recognised across Australia and the Asia-Pacific as a
leading educator and researcher in global tourism. She has received a number of
awards for the outstanding contribution she makes to educating future leaders in
the tourism industry.

Tamara collaborates closely with partners in both research and teaching to enhance
local and regional tourism capabilities. Her industry projects include the UN Global
Compact Cities Programme Indigenous Tourism Taskforce, The Newcastle City
Council Visiting Friends and Relatives Study, and the Hunter Valley Wine and
Tourism Association Tourism Monitor Project. Tamara was Chair and Host of the
Council for Australasian Tourism, Hospitality and Events Education Conference
held in Newcastle in 2018, and she is on the international steering committee of the
Tourism Education Futures Initiative.

Drawing on academic literature concerned with tourist cultures, Tamara’s
presentation will provide insights into the motivations and travel behaviours of a
range of emerging markets in Chinese outbound tourism to Australia.


Mr Stuart Barclay

General Manager, Marketing, Wine Australiapicture of Stuart Barclay

Stuart joined Wine Australia in November 2014 and as General Manager, Marketing he has responsibility for Wine Australia promotional activities domestically and internationally.

Stuart has more than 23 years’ experience in the wine sector in the UK and Australia, including 10 years’ experience managing buying, wine production, direct-to-consumer sales and marketing channels for the Cellarmasters Group and Woolworths Liquor Group.

This presentation will give insight into the role of Wine Australia in relation to current
markets patterns and marketing trends, including digital media and social media.
The presentation will delve into the integration of wine tourism into Wine Australia’s
strategic pillars and the capabilities of the grant’s programs.


Mr Reece Hignell

MasterChef Top 6 Contestant 2018Reece Hignell

Reece Hignell is a local Newcastle based cook. Reece has always had a strong passion for food starting from an early age when he would help his Nan bake and sell cakes at the local markets. Over his life he has always experimented with cooking and evolved his style as his ability grew.

Now Reece is a confident cake baker and loves making anything sweet. In 2018 Reece applied for MasterChef Australia, and before he knew it he was a contestant on the show’s 10th (and Logie winning) season.

The show has completely changed Reece’s life who left his job in Recruitment to take on full time career in cooking. Following the season, Reece has held a number of pop up restaurants around the country, released a gelato brand with Gelitissimo, undertaken some major brand connections and toured many food fairs.

Now days, Reece had settled back in his home of Newcastle where he frequently holds cooking classes with The Essential Ingredient, Julie’s Place and ATWEA. Reece is also working on releasing his own cake business where he hopes to cater for special events around the Newcastle region.


Program Coming Soon