Tony Zhuang: Shanghai-based alumnus of the University of Technology Sydney

Interview by Molly O'Brien, Marketing & Communications Specialist, Advance   

Meet Tony Zhuang, a Shanghai-based alumnus of the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Advance spoke to Tony to learn about how his experience studying in Australia positively impacted his vocational pathway.

How long did you spend in Australia, and what was your biggest motivation to study at the University of Technology Sydney?

I stayed in Sydney, Australia for about four years, and I predominately moved there to complete my tertiary degree, but to also have different life experience overseas.

What opportunities were presented to you by UTS that you may not have received in China?

My study at UTS provided with me pools of opportunities. Not only by completing my Master's degree and broadening my vocational horizons, but also by expanding my personal and professional networks. 

How did gaining your Master of Finance from UTS help position you competitively upon your return to China?

I didn’t get into the banking industry straight after gaining my Master's of Finance from UTS, however, I did meet my current business partner in Sydney when I was studying there. We founded our startup SmartBuyGlasses Optical Group together in 2016. Since then our company has grown to one of the largest online optical retailer over the world.

What was your best experience during your time in Australia? 

I made many new friends, travelled many new places and experienced many new things (including surfing!) in Australia. More importantly, I became a more capable and confident person after overcoming many difficulties while living in a new country, barely knowing anyone at the beginning. My time in Australia definitely left a mark on my life. 

Do you still maintain connections there?

Yes, I still maintain a close connection to the Australian expat community and UTS alumni. My company has been recognised two years in a row; in 2014 as the winner of the ‘Entrepreneurial Award’, and in 2015 as the winner of the ‘Business Excellence Award for Business Innovation’ in the Australia China Business Awards. Also, I won the 2016 Australia China Alumni Award for ICT and New Media.

What do you recognise as the biggest difference between Shanghai and Sydney?

Shanghai and Sydney are both great cities to live and work. They both are dynamic, diverse, open and friendly cities. Sydney has a good climate, sun, sea, beaches, and exciting outdoor life. Shanghai is a great place to make a business with China. There are so many opportunities here in Shanghai.