Owner of the SG Asian Supermarket in Lismore Tony Shi. Photo Patrick Gorbunovs / The Northern Star
Owner of the SG Asian Supermarket in Lismore Tony Shi. Photo Patrick Gorbunovs / The Northern Star Patrick Gorbunovs

He’s holding the door open

A LISMORE business owner is trying to entice Chinese businesses to Come to the Heart and either relocate or establish a new business in the Northern Rivers.

SG Asian Supermarket owner Tony Shi, with help from a friend in China, has been in talks with business owners for several months and hopes the first Chinese-owned business moves to the Lismore region later this year.

A former Southern Cross University student, Mr Shi said his business had been doing well since opening in the Lismore CBD last year.

Mr Shi said as visa guidelines for regional areas were more lenient than those for capital cities, moving to the Northern Rivers was even more attractive to Chinese business owners.

"I know a lot of good investors back in China, and a lot of investors are trying to do something overseas so they can stay overseas," he said. "They have their own companies over in China and they want to expand their services overseas.

"There are a couple of clients where we are actually drafting a contract at the moment, but it won't be happening until the end of this year or the beginning of next year."

A wide variety of businesses have been approached to relocate or establish premises.

"If they relocate their business to big cities in Australia it can be more expensive, so I am trying to convince them to relocate to this region," Mr Shi said. "I don't care what type of business they own, as long as they stay in Lismore, I'm happy."

Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell said the council welcomed any business investment that was appropriate and sustainable.

Cr Dowell said having people in the community who had relationships with business owners overseas was a great start to building those relationships and trying to entice the business owners to relocate.

"I think it's important that any business that comes here fits in with our clean, green image," she said.



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