Startup hub HaymarketHQ is launching a new program in partnership with Australia Post, Alibaba Cloud and Australia-China Council to help businesses enter China.

The China Canvas Challenge is an online program valued at almost $5,000, but the inaugural course will be free for all participants, thanks to the corporate sponsors.

The Chinese market represents an enormous opportunity for Australian businesses but is also notoriously challenging. The seven week program is designed to help Australian businesses tailor their products specifically for China, work through logistical issues, develop robust revenue and cost models, handle legal and regulatory hurdles, and build high-powered teams to target the country.

The course will feature modules delivered by successful entrepreneurs and experts in the China market and Alibaba Cloud will provide trainings, workshop programs and free credits for its cloud offering to help Australian businesses set up in China.

“The China Canvas Challenge is a perfect opportunity for businesses all over Australia — startups or otherwise — to get top-quality guidance from successful entrepreneurs with hands-on experience in the Australia-China market,” said Duco van Breemen, Haymarket HQ’s general manager.

“With demand for Australian goods and services expected to expand at a healthy rate, 2019 is a great time to become China market ready.”

Businesses taking part will work towards developing a China market entry plan and at the end of the program, participants will have the chance to pitch their business idea to a panel of judges. The winner will receive a “momentous business exploration” trip to China.

Registrations are open now and the course begins February 25.

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