Ang Zhong (Allen) and Lu Jiang (Louis) met in South Australia after migrating separately from China, and now work alongside each other in a successful business partnership - the Unity Group.
While they didn’t know each other before moving to Adelaide, Allen and Louis met through their mutual career aspirations and skills. Allen arrived in 2007 with his wife and daughter, joining his son who had been studying at university in Adelaide at the time. A year later, Louis arrived with his wife and daughter after studying computer science as an international student in the eastern states.
The duo both independently chose Adelaide for its appealing lifestyle, a stark contrast to life in China.
“I originally considered Melbourne or Sydney, but both are such busy cities,” Allen says. “I was looking for a lifestyle change for my family from the very busy life we had in Shanghai. Adelaide was a good choice for us with its slower pace. It offers a complete lifestyle change.”
Louis tried living in the eastern states at first before deciding to make the move to Adelaide for his family.
“Adelaide seemed to be a better choice,” he says. “Everything is clean, much quieter and easy to get around - you don’t have the traffic issues you experience in Melbourne or Sydney. My daughter is now in year 3 at school, and we all are very happy and enjoy Adelaide.”
Allen says without the support of Immigration SA he would not have been able to establish his first business, bargain store ‘Get It Cheap’ on Henley Beach Road.
“The support we received from the Immigration SA business migration team was fantastic,” he says. “It was so easy to make business appointments and speak with the professional team, who were able to guide us through the processes. Their support was critical in the first two years of us starting a business. We were introduced to many other people and organisations that were able to assist us.”
He also says working with the South Australian Government is far easier and more accessible than similar agencies interstate. Louis agrees, saying that local government has enabled their business to thrive.
Since arriving in Adelaide Louis and Allen have developed a partnership in the Unity Group - a business venture they are very proud of.
The pair regularly share their stories, knowledge and expertise in migrating from China to Australia with other individuals looking to make the move. They believe that socialising with the community is key in the migration process.
“We work with other members of the Chinese community here and in China and assist them by sharing our experiences in migrating to Adelaide and starting business here,” Allen says. “Mateship is very important, as is socialising with friends from all different cultural backgrounds. Our logo for Unity Group is about the importance of merging the two cultures: Australian and Chinese, and how we work together.”
This concept of working together has been carried through into Allen’s latest business venture - his ownership of the Ned’s franchise business. In 2016 Allen purchased the group, which comprises eight stores and more than 70 staff.
“We have formed very good working relationships and friendships with the managers and team at the Ned’s stores,” he says. “We see ourselves as one big family – it is all about teamwork, valuing people’s experience, and everyone being happy working together.”
With their business collaboration thriving, Allen’s and Louis’ story is proof migration doesn’t necessarily mean separation, but rather a coming together of talents and journeys to create new success stories. But it’s not just success, it’s a love of life too.
“We are not looking to move,” Allen says. “We love the life here.”