Are you ready for Asian century?

Almost one decade passed since Gillard’s government told Australian “…The Asian century is an Australian opportunity. As the global centre of gravity shifts to our region, the tyranny of distance is being replaced by the prospects of proximity – Australia is located in the right place at the right time – in the Asian region in the Asian century,” (Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, 2012).

Since then, many things happened in our government as well as in Asia. How have we done and are we still in the right place at the right time?

The good news are our trade with Asia are growing since 2012, however, we also missed more opportunities. Based on the “ANZ Opportunity Asia Report” (AOAP, 2018) Australian business missed out about 4 billion additional revenue. This is mainly caused by the lack of understand and awareness of Asia business. PwC pointed out in August 2017 that “Corporate Australia urgently needs business leaders that understand and are experienced with Asia”, because “90% of ASX 200 companies are not Asia ready” and “82% of the top 30 private companies are not adequately equipped to do business in Asia”. The situation is even worse for SMEs, they do not have time and money to explore Asia market though they may have very unique and exportable product/service.

Like it or not, the Asian century is coming. According the Financial Times forecasted the Asian economies “will be larger than the rest of the world combined in 2020” (26 March, 2019). As the first time since 19th century, the Asian century will begins next year (to be accurate: in two months!).

We are still in the right place at the right time, are you ready for Asian century? More importantly, how can you be ready for Asian century?

Here are my three suggestions:

  • Fish where the fishes are:
    Asia is a much diversified area. It is not only China neither Japan nor India. There are 48 countries in Asia. Each country also has many different religions and cultures.
    China is a big market, but it is not the right export market for every business. The AOAP 2019 revealed “Asian is the No.1 region to do business in Asia (70%) followed by Greater China (69) “. I also know a Brisbane company developed Philippine as their biggest export market. 
    However, this is not to say China market is not important or Chinese language and business culture can be ignored. For most Australian business, you can still find your niche market in China, there must be some customers among the 14 billion Chinese people.
    Dealing with Chinese partners and customers is not limited to China. When I help Australian business export to 12 Asian countries, 8 of our distributors have Chinese background. The biggest Philippine business is also owned by overseas Chinese.
  • Prepare for the baits that works:
    It has long past for business to sell what they have. “Australia Made” and “Green and Clean Australia” are important but cannot be the sales force for every Australian business. You must prepare your own baits and be innovative.
    How to prepare the baits that works? As I pointed out at Qleader’s presentation, this can be summarised in one word - “Understanding”.
    The AOAP 2019 echoed my suggestion and found the key drive of success is good relation with Asia partners & customers. It also pointed out that more people believe they need to consult extensively with external resources (from 56% in 2015 to 64% in 2019).
    Though big consulting firms charge heavily on export consulting which prevented many SMEs develop their export market, there are some support from the government like EMDG (Export Market Development Grant). You can find an individual hand-on export consultant who can help with a reasonable fee which can be half covered by EMDG.
  • Catch and cultivate the fish
    When you enter to the fish catch stage, you need to prepare proper tools. Telling your story in the way your Asia consumers can understand. It is also important that you do not drain the water and get all the fish. Cultivate the fish for a sustainable growth. Grow with your customers.

Australia is still in the Asian region and in the Asian century. Interested to know more about how to be ready for Asian Centaury? Email us for an Asian Ready Check List.

Rutian Mi Principal | M: +61 404 647 135 | E: |

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