Australian companies Armstrong Wines Trading and Australia Original Ecology have joined Shandong-based Zibo Shoushan Enterprise and Shandong Fusheng Food in the partnership.
South Australia and Shandong are twinned regions and have significant potential for bilateral trade, said Tony Royal, a South Australian exporter who stands to benefit from the park’s development.
“China’s expanding middle-class has an insatiable appetite for high quality wine and food, however high tariffs and logistic barriers have constrained the opportunity for export growth,” said Royal.
“This agreement will open up market access channels, allowing us to deliver hundreds of containers of food and wine into China every month.”
The business consortium has already begun construction of a A$200m (US$144m) retail centre in the city of Zibo, which will showcase South Australia’s premium foods and wines.
The government’s China Engagement Strategy is delivering sizeable results for the state, said premier Jay Weatherill.
“We believe that Shandong is our window into China and equally we are encouraging Shandong to see South Australia as their window into Australia,” said Weatherill.
“This new investment will only strengthen South Australia’s reputation for producing clean green food that is in high demand globally.”
Shandong is China’s third biggest province with a population of 100m and an annual GDP
The Shandong agreement follows another deal struck by South Australian company Thomas Foods International and Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group last month.
For the past 17 years, the state’s food manufacturing industry has seen year-on-year growth, according to government figures.
Total overseas food and wine exports have reached a record high of more than A$7.4bn (US$5.3bn) and employment in the industry has grown to more than 150,000.
“Not many industries can claim that sort of growth, and there is a lot of potential to create even more jobs and drive more business in this sector,” said state agriculture minister Leon Bignell.