THE Whitsunday branch of the Chinese Australian Entrepreneurs Association Incorporated (CAEAI) was officially launched on Saturday as part of the Chinese New Year celebrations.
About 80 local business people and ratepayers attended a dinner at the “Lovely India” restaurant in Airlie Beach.
Mark Beale of Ray White Whitsunday is the president of the association and Jimmy Duncan from Whitsunday Surveys group was officially named the vice-president.
Mr Beale paid tribute to Tony Laurent who recently passed away. Mr Laurent was instrumental in developing a relationship with Chinese investors and helping to start the association.
The crowd was addressed by Raymond Wang who established the CAEAI in Australia.
Mr Wang’s company is involved with the proposed China Town project for Airlie Beach and he also has investments in the region.
He said it was a pleasure to celebrate Chinese New Year in the beautiful Whitsundays.
“This marks the beginning of our good relationship,” he said.
Mr Wang said he was optimistic that more cultural opportunities would be provided in the future. He said he had been coming to the Whitsundays for three years and had noticed an increase in the number of Chinese visitors.
Whitsunday Mayor Jennifer Whitney was a special guest at the dinner and said the growth of the CAEAI will help the Association with building investment links between China and the Whitsunday region.