Hu and Li swap a fast life for a sweet life

Li Chenyun and Hu DongquanLi Chenyun and Hu Dongquan

When Li Chenyun, her husband Hu Dongquan and their two children were granted 163 visas to migrate to Western Australia in September 2007, they were looking forward to clean air, a more relaxed lifestyle and a safe community.

Now their children are happily settled in school and university and the family is enjoying all the lifestyle benefits Western Australia has to offer - but finding a suitable business has not been so straightforward.

Before migrating, Li and Hu had a toy manufacturing business and a hotel in China, so they were very experienced in running businesses, but transferring those skills to the Australian market has taken time and perseverance.

“At first, we thought we could export products from here back to China, but that is easier said than done,” Ms Li said.

“We initially started a trading company exporting red wine but it was just too difficult and the market was too competitive.

“Instead, we found a business advertised for sale in the local Chinese newspaper. The business was under administration, with an annual turnover of less than $500,000. Now, after three years, we have expanded the business and it is doing well with turnover in the vicinity of $800,000 per annum.

The business, “Encore Delights”, manufactures Dim Sum buns at its factory in Bayswater, and now employs five workers (full time and part time), Li and Hu’s son also lending a hand when things get busy.

The business has increased production over the past three years and is now expanding its marketing activities to capture the non-Asian market.

To help this process, Li will soon be meeting with a business adviser from the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) to investigate new markets for her product. All advisory services from the SBDC are free and confidential.

“Now that our business is moving ahead, we are realising the benefits of living and working in Western Australia,” Ms Li said.

“We love the Australian lifestyle, there’s less stress and we get to spend more time with our family than we did before.

“Here we enjoy a better environment, fresh air, a safe community and the country is politically stable.

“In China, you can make a lot of money, much quicker, but there’s pollution and it’s a very hectic environment. It’s all about finding a balance,” Ms Li said.

Hu and Li have some words of advice for others considering the big move to Western Australia, particularly if they intend to own a business.

“Be realistic in your expectations and be prepared to roll up your sleeves and be a ‘hands-on’ boss,” Ms Li says with a smile.

“Don’t expect to be a big boss who just stands back and watches the business grow by itself.

Ms Li says the other challenge in Western Australia is finding enough suitable workers.

“We’ve had to get used to some different customs regarding employees.

“Labour is never a problem in China because the population is so big. Here the population is much smaller, so finding good workers is a bit more difficult.”

Li Chenyun and her family were sponsored into Western Australia by the Business Migration Centre at the Small Business Development Corporation. For details on sponsorship visit www.businessmigration.wa.gov.au.  For details on the SBDC’s free confidential business advisory service, visit: www.smallbusiness.wa.gov.au .

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