Australia Post hopes to increase the number of Australian businesses trading overseas by providing all the information needed on a one-stop-shop portal, set to launch in June.
Executive General Manager International Services Andrew Parker made the announcement at the Business Strategies for the Indo-Pacific Era event, co-convened by CCI the Perth USAsia Centre and the Australian Institute of International Affairs WA on April 6.
Parker told the 85-strong business crowd that only 27 per cent of Australian businesses are exporting overseas because ‘it’s too hard to figure out how to expand into Asian markets’ partly because of the difficulty in finding all the information required, such as registrations, requirements, language barriers and payment systems.
He says the portal will provide information on eight countries and industries with content written by in-country experts and industry experts.
Parker, who is also a PwC Partner, says there has never been a better time to start trading with the Indo Pacific.
PwC in its World in 2050 report forecast that four of the world’s five biggest economies – China, India, Japan and Indonesia – would dominate the world’s top five economies by 2030, with only the US interrupting Asian dominance.
“We are witnessing in our region the fastest and largest and most sustained growth in incomes in human history,” he says.
“So we have on our doorstep economies that are growing at a rate of 5 per cent per annum plus, the region is producing about 2/3 of the world’s economic growth,” he says.
“China alone last year added $800b to its GDP, so put that into context, that’s around 2/3 of the Australian economy.”
He says with the end of the mining investment boom, WA is rebalancing its economy to export services at a time when economies, mostly China, are rebalancing from investment led growth to consumption led growth.
With the growing middle class in China and India alone, the e-commerce market in the Asia pacific region is expected to be more than twice the size of the US, North American and European e-commerce markets combined, he told business leaders.
“E-commerce sales in South East Asia totalled about $11b last year. That’s pretty modest compared with what’s been achieved in China. Those sales are growing at over 40 per cent per annun today, heavily driven by investment by the Chinese-backed market places, namely Alibaba and JD.com.
“Already the fastest growing internet market in the world, Indonesia, is expected to have 119 million online shoppers in the early 2020s.”
He says Australian brands were popular in China – with Australia third highest selling country on Alibaba’s famous singles day, also known as double 11, which recorded $20b in sales.
“One of those, Chemist Warehouse, took just over seven hours to beat their 2016 sales on double 11. So you can see the magnitude of what that middle class means to Australian businesses and exporters.”
Parker says Australia Post has built strategic partnerships with large Asian marketplaces so Australian businesses can get their products to the growing middle class.
“Perth airport alone has more than 165 direct flights a week to eight Asian cities so I think with the combination of geography, transport links and, of course, technology, WA businesses have quite a unique capability to tackle those Asian markets.”