Window into the world


Window into the world

February 12, 2024

As a Chinese student at an Australian university, foreign direct investment specialist Ines Liu MBA (2012) says her time at Macquarie University was like a window into the world. It opened her eyes to a different way of living and working, and the insight it gave her was the start of her bridging the two cultures, both personally and professionally. Now based in Beijing, Ms Liu remains strongly connected to Australia through her work and as part of the Macquarie Alumni Network China, supporting businesses and enhancing cross-cultural connections.


When you think of China, you think of the staggering size of the population – over 1.4 billion, in fact. However, when speaking with Ines Liu, within this sea of people, it’s the individual that comes into sharp focus instead – and, in Ms Liu’s case, the qualities of integrity and authenticity as she seeks to act from a place of wisdom while delicately conducting business between China and Australia. It’s a challenging geo-political environment to navigate at times, for sure.

As Senior Manager within the International Business Advisory team at Dezan Shira & Associates, Ms Liu provides strategic guidance to foreign investors on market entry, corporate structuring, cross-border tax considerations, and the legal and tax regulations and intricacies associated with foreign direct investment (FDI) in China. ‘We are pan-Asia, providing services to Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, China and India,’ explains Ms Liu, ‘but we also work with foreign embassies and chambers of commerce for the UK, Germany, Israel, the US and Australia.’

In 2019, due to her interest in the country and experience, Ms Liu established the Australian Client Services Desk, adding Regional Head, Australian Business Development to her title. As such, she spearheads business development and project management initiatives in Australia and liaises with a range of companies and clients as well as major Australian education providers, government agencies such as AUSTRADE, and state government offices both locally and overseas.

‘I help Australian businesses navigate the business climate in Asia and act as the primary point of contact for the firm’s Australian clients and partners in China as well as globally,’ she says. ‘I work closely with each client, navigating what they need to know when doing business in or with China, addressing their concerns, including key risks and considerations, and providing business intelligence services such as location analysis, advice on manufacturing and assembly opportunities, and setting up or dissolving a business, for example,’ she says, admitting she relies heavily on her understanding of the region to provide impartial yet insightful advice. ‘It’s important to remain neutral,’ she adds matter-of-factly.

Ms Liu also runs speaking events with government agencies and associations in Australia, such as the Victorian State Government in Melbourne and the Australia China Business Council (ACBC) and their member companies, advising on macro factors in China, including potential restructuring options or exit strategies. ‘It’s a complex situation right now for many companies, which requires much wisdom,’ she says.


And indeed, it’s these skills and insights that have come to the fore in relation to Ms Liu’s involvement with Macquarie University’s global alumni network. ‘That’s why I was so keen to be part of the network in China,’ she says enthusiastically. ‘I feel I can contribute by using my knowledge, building connections between businesses, between alumni and between countries, sharing insights into foreign investment in China, and discussing what foreign investors need to know, including the key risks.

‘I’m pleased to see the Macquarie Alumni Network China is growing – the foundations are very strong as we connect Australia not just to China but also other ASEAN countries,’ says Ms Liu, adding the Macquarie University Alumni team in Sydney has been very supportive, especially Susan Mills, who she has met in person both in Beijing and in Australia several times. ‘We first met at an event at the Establishment in Sydney, and then in 2019 in Beijing, and have connected over my willingness to contribute to the alumni and our joint interest in China,’ remembers Ms Liu.

Ines Liu grad Ines Liu 2

Ms Liu enjoys representing the University as an alumna, and recently attended events in Sydney and Brisbane while in the country for work. ‘I’m grateful for the opportunity to support Macquarie University and give back, contributing to strengthening the alumni and the links between our countries.’

Her reasons for being involved are also very personal. ‘Studying at Macquarie was pivotal in developing my vision and mindset,’ she explains. ‘It allowed me to think and explore, and I benefited greatly from the experience in terms of independent and critical thinking.

‘It was also important in terms of learning how you relate to people, how you treat them in business, and how you react to things. Studying at Macquarie and living in Australia changed me and my thinking considerably. That’s why it was so important to me – it was like a window into the world.

Ines Liu and friends Ines Liu evening

‘Naturally, I was also able to improve my English and learn to speak more fluently. I have become much more comfortable communicating in English, to the point where it has almost become a second mother tongue, opening up opportunities in terms of the information I’m now able to access and bridging the cultural differences between China and Australia.’

As a testament to both her journey and her success at work, Ms Liu was recently recognised by the Australia China Alumni Association (ACAA), which ‘celebrates excellence in Australian tertiary education and the significant achievements of Australian-educated alumni in China, demonstrating how Australian tertiary education can help graduates succeed in an international context and across a variety of fields.’

Ms Liu was a finalist in the prestigious 2023 Australia China Alumni Award for Major Corporate Achievement, which recognises ‘established and emerging commercial leaders, all of whom have demonstrated leadership ability, a flair for their field, and a passion for corporate social responsibility.’

Ms Liu was a deserving recipient, one the Macquarie University alumni in Australia and China is proud to have among its peers. ‘My goal is to be a blessing to others, wherever I am,’ says Ms Liu humbly, though Australia is sure to remain a place close to her heart. ‘I feel comfortable there and almost get reverse culture shock when I go back to Beijing now,’ she laughs. ‘But that’s part of the journey for me to grow as a person; to be adaptable and fit in anywhere.’

Ines Liu steps

It’s certainly a long way from when she arrived in Sydney as a fresh MBA student. ‘I remember it felt so quiet,’ she says, ‘I nearly cried!’ Now though, she loves the open spaces, the people who have embraced her, and the quieter, more suburban life, especially in Brisbane, but the familiarity of Sydney draws her in too. So, would she move here permanently? ‘I would love to, but only if I can do it legitimately,’ she says with trademark integrity before adding, ‘and only if I can contribute positively to the country and the community – that is my responsibility as an individual.’


Foreign direct investment (FDI) specialist Ines Liu is a Senior Manager within the International Business Advisory team at Dezan Shira & Associates’ Beijing office. She advises foreign investors on market entry strategy, corporate structuring, cross-border tax issues and FDI-related legal and tax considerations. In 2019, Ms Liu took the initiative of leading Dezan Shira & Associates’ business development in Australia and formed the Australian Desk. As Regional Head, Australian Business Development, she is the point of contact for Australian clients and partners in China and globally.

Ms Liu started her career at PwC straight after her undergraduate degree. At PwC, she acquired extensive auditing and assurance experience, and also practised in specific areas of auditing, financial and corporate communications, as well as general accounting and management consulting. She also gained valuable experience while working with leading companies across the Asia-Pacific in a financial and corporate communications role at Ogilvy Public Relations in Beijing, and was a consultant on several high-profile initial public offerings – mergers, acquisitions and spin-offs as well as in management transition, crisis communications and media training roles.

From 2010 to 2012, Ms Liu pursued an MBA at Macquarie Graduate School of Business (MGSM), where she was assigned the social role of President of the Macquarie Graduate School of Management Alumni Association (MGSM AA), Global Chapter, Beijing Chapter. She works with the Board of MGSM AA and other chapters globally to develop a more engaging and stronger Macquarie University network in Australia and internationally.

 Wherever you are in the world, the Macquarie University Alumni Network can help you stay connected with your alma mater. If you’re interested in our network in China, join our LinkedIn group and stay up to date with events and opportunities.

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