Premier Mark McGowan will meet representatives of China’s biggest e-commerce and travel booking companies, part of the state government’s first official international business delegation, featuring events in Hangzhou and Shanghai this week.
First up for the premier and a selected delegation of tourism and education business representatives is a meeting with Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group, the e-commerce giant which achieved a $US2.67 billion net profit in the three months to September 30.
One of the key focuses of the meeting, which will take place in Hangzhou, is expected to be how the state government’s marketing agency, Tourism Western Australia, can leverage its relationship with Alibaba’s online travel portal, Fliggy.
The platform has more than 200 million users, with travellers able to book hotels, flights and experiences directly through the app.
A celebration to commemorate the 30th anniversary of WA's sister state relationship with Zhejiang Province will follow the the Alibaba meeting.
Over the past three decades there has been significant cultural, business, research and education exchange between WA and Zhejiang.
The University of Western Australia has established three research laboratories in the province, while Tianma Bearing Group has made significant investments in WA's agricultural sector, including the purchase of a controlling stake in Ferngrove Wines in 2011 and the acquisition of Pilbara cattle station Balfour Downs in 2014.
Mr McGowan’s delegation will also be meeting with China’s largest travel services provider, Ctrip, in Shanghai.
Ctrip, which has more than 250 million users in China, is rapidly expanding into new markets, after acquiring popular flight booking portal Skyscanner for $US1.74 billion last year.
In early November, Ctrip bought San Francisco-based Trip.com to add its recommendation service to the Skyscanner portfolio, as it seeks to embed itself further into global travel markets.
Following the delegation to China, Mr McGowan and Tourism Minister Paul Papalia will travel to Japan for high-level meetings in Tokyo and Kobe.
"The Chinese portion of the trip has a particular focus on international education and tourism, both crucial sectors if we are to grow and diversify the state's economy to create more local jobs,” Mr McGowan said.