Westpac's China chief is tipping increased interest in WA's non- resources assets as China's shaky economic recovery gains strength.
The bank's head of greater China, Hong Kong-based Andrew Whitford, said improved customer activity had reinforced the signs of a marked pick-up in the Chinese economy in recent months.
"Since December, we have continued to see strong growth," said Mr Whitford, who is back in Australia for a series of customer functions in major cities to mark Chinese New Year.
Chinese investment in Australia has ballooned since the mining boom, totalling $45 billion in the six years to June 2012. The investment was initially driven by a focus on the resources sector but in the past two years had broadened into foodstuffs, property and wine.
Just in the past six months, China has taken a foothold in WA's Ord River farm region and turned its attention to large tracts of land in the State's Wheatbelt.
"Agriculture is very much front of mind with a lot of the customers we are talking to. It is all around food supply," Mr Whitford said.
"And the Chinese, when they are looking at potential opportunities, tend to look outside the square in terms of being a bit creative."
But Mr Whitford, who has spent the past six years in China, said Westpac also fielded a steady stream of inquiries about Australian residential property. Some of the interest is linked to the rising popularity of this country's colleges and universities with Chinese students.
"What we find with our customers is that they send the kids to Australia and then buy them an apartment to live in while they are studying," he said. "Afterwards, they are attracted by the rental yields and are quite happy to keep it as a long-term investment."
The new magazine for a new generation of West Australians.Click here to download »
All the latest market figures from Australia and the world.Click here »
'The West Australian' is a trademark of West Australian Newspapers Limited 2013.
All rights reserved.
Select your state to see news for your area.