Geoff Raby on His Third Career – Advising Companies in Doing Business in China

Former Australia Ambassador to China, Geoff Raby now provides consultancy to companies on doing business in China, and Chinese company on their going-out strategy.  Here is his recent interview at The Australian:  

A bull in the China shop | The Australian

Raby describes this new path as his third career, having entered the diplomatic service from the academic world. He has a Bachelor of Economics, a Master of Economics and a PhD from Melbourne’s La Trobe University. “I thought that before I hung up my boots for good I would like to have a go at business. And I’m stimulated and, frankly, have never been busier. My big fear [was] that I’d suddenly be a nobody. I still get good access, [although] I will never get the access I had.

“What I need are deals – with deals I get better access. As a former ambassador you are well respected – you get to keep the title of ambassador. What is different at that level is that in China there is a lot of ceremonial access. As ambassador I would always see the vice-minister and I wouldn’t go unless I could see the vice-minister.

“But often the right person could be the next person down – the director-general, say, or the deputy director-general. My access is fine; everyone will see me once as a courtesy. I have good standing in the system and that means a lot. It’s all about guanxi [the network of relationships used in business].”

Raby is also a visiting fellow at Monash University and in this role he can be expected to keep offering free advice to the government of the day. “The vice-chancellor wanted me to contribute as a public intellectual. I want to keep contributing to public policy and I enjoy the freedom of not being constrained by being in government,” he says with a smile.

As well as doing work for the Queensland Investment Corporation – a state version of the Future Fund – Raby also gives “a bit of advice” to the Business Council of Australia. “They agree with things I am saying, such as that we do not engage enough in – and don’t really have a business agenda with – China.”

Contact us today to engage China expert Dr Geoff Raby for your next event!

One thought on “Geoff Raby on His Third Career – Advising Companies in Doing Business in China

  1. Ryan Head says:

    Hi Geoff, i totally understand if your too busy to respond!!
    im a young australian marketing consultant with Sensis in Brisbane. I have just started mandarin lessons as id love to move and get into business between aus and china in the next couple of years (as soon as possible). Im reading your artcle from the australian ‘the deal’, and am really impressed with what you have done and am doing!!  I understand you’d be super busy, but any advice would be amazing!!
    How long did it take you to learn mandarin?
    Any chance your visiting Aus this year as I’d love to meet you (I think this would be possible)?
    Thanks for your time anyhow,

    Kind Regards
     Ryan Head

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