Case Studies of Australian Businesses in China
BHP Billiton (draft)
BHP Billiton, one of the world's largest diversified resource companies, has a long history in China, first exporting lead to Fuzhou in 1891. However, it was not until the 1960s and 1970s that BHP Billiton commenced regular business with China, exporting steel products and various minerals products. In the late 1970s, BHP signed an oil exploration contract with China and the mid 1980s began investigating mineral exploration possibilities. BHP Steel, recently spun-off from BHP Billiton, successfully operates two roll-forming plants in Guangzhou and Shanghai, established in the mid 1990s.
Today, BHP Billiton's main business with China is exporting iron ore, although the company also exports copper concentrates from South America, hot briquetted iron and alumina from Australia and small amounts of steaming coal from South Africa. To date, it has entered only the preliminary stages of minerals exploration at various sites in China; exploration policy, mining laws and the general business environment still are evolving and make long-term investment decisions complicated to develop and commercially difficult to justify. Nevertheless, China's considerable mineral wealth and rapidly growing need for higher quality industrial inputs make it an increasingly attractive and important market for both export and direct investment opportunities.
Source: BHP Billiton, 2002.
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