Australian businesses still lack skills to engage with Asia: report

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, August 11, 2020
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SYDNEY, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- Despite a steady expansion by Australian businesses into Asia, most corporations are still under-equipped to fully engage with the benefits of the region, according to a comprehensive report released Tuesday.

Compiled by the melbourne-based Asialink Business, the findings revealed that less than one in 10 board members and senior executives from Australia's top 200 public companies were considered "Asia capable."

This comes despite the immense potential of the region -- demonstrated by the Asia Pacific making up 42 percent of foreign revenues generated by companies on Australia's ASX 200.

Australian exports to the Asia Pacific grew 8.5 percent per year over the past five years, according to the study's figures, largely on the back of increasing demand for Australian goods and services.

However, an analysis of 1,705 business leaders' ability to engage with Asia, according to a specially tailored methodology, revealed an average score of 13.6 percent, with scores over 50 percent being considered "Asia capable."

Respondents scored strongest in their knowledge of Asian markets and weakest in their ability to adapt to Asian cultural contexts.

"In many ways, this report is a call to action to Australian business to better understand the essential factors of competing effectively in Asian markets," said Ainslie van Onselen, co-project coordinator and CEO of Chartered Accountants ANZ.

In relation to China, the report highlighted the rapidly changing nature of the market and importance of adaptability -- pointing to the evolution and subsequent success of local multinationals over the past two decades as well as the rise of e-commerce.

"Local offices of Australian companies in China need to have an entrepreneurial culture to compete," said contributing author, Qiao Ma, Portfolio Manager Asian Equities Fund at Cooper Investors at the report's launch.

Crucially the paper also showed evidence that major companies which diversified overseas created more value for shareholders than companies that were domestically focused.

Onselen recommended replacing a local mindset, with a global mindset and placing Asia in the middle -- for as the report points out, that is where the world's economic weight is firmly centered.

"Australia's future economic success depends on it," she said. Enditem

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