Australia and China have an extensive and growing economic relationship underpinned by diverse people-to-people connections. China is Australia’s largest two-way trading partner in goods and services (A$195 billion in 2017–18). Chinese investment into Australia’s real estate industry increased by 400% in the five years to 2015, to A$12 billion in 2014–15. Money flows from China into Australia almost doubled between 2011–12 and 2015–16, from A$42 billion to almost A$77 billion. China is Australia’s largest source of overseas students (over 157,000 studied in Australia in 2016) and second largest and highest spending inbound tourism market (with 1.2 million visits in 2016).
This economic relationship is mutually beneficial, but it also creates opportunities for criminals. The large volume of money, goods and people moving between the two countries makes it easier to conceal crimes, such as trafficked drugs or laundered money. Much activity also takes place online, making the cyber realm a major vector for cross-border criminal activity. It’s therefore important that the two governments work together to fight transnational crime where there are links between Australia and China, or where either’s citizens play key facilitator roles.