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Thursday, 4 April 2013

Asian know-how crucial for Australia's prosperity

Finding information about Asian food in Australia seems to be easy, with a range of Asian food blogs available, but information about Asian business, politics, culture, or people is scarcer. In the mainstream media if you want more than the details about an Australian in trouble with the Chinese legal system, you need to look past the front page, for example in the small business section. This story turns a quick chat with Australian internet entrepreneur Patrick Grove into a set of ideas about doing business in Asia, which Grove says is "five different markets".

Sceptics might poo-pooh Julia Gillard's Asian Century white paper but the numbers don't lie.
Australian entrepreneurs planning their next move should consider this statistic before any other: the number of middle-class consumers in the Asia-Pacific region is estimated to grow from about half a billion in 2009 to 3.2 billion in 2030. That has to be the entrepreneurial opportunity of a lifetime.
Even the Opposition has caught the bug, with Tony Abbott's new Plan putting forward the idea of placing Australian students in Asian universities where they can soak up the vibe and build the networks that can help them once they graduate.

But there are other options for Australian businesses looking to crack Asian markets, for example Australia's massive number of international students. Better engagement with this demographic might help Australians - and Australia's media - avoid sloppy thinking on Asia in future. There are plenty of ways that these young people can be incorporated within the debate, but to do so will require more effort from us all. Developing better knowledge of Asia is so important for Australia's future economic prosperity, and it's something that the media has missed to this point in time. How about they start by building relationships with the foreign-language press in Australia's capital cities; the are three Chinese daily newspapers in Sydney alone.

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