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The value of South East Asian trade to local businesses

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Local businesses are visiting Indonesia and the Philippines this week to seize international trade opportunities as part of the State Government’s 2017 business mission program.

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South East Asia is an important trade region for South Australia. In 2015-16 two-way trade between the region and South Australia totalled more than $3.9 billion.

The South East Asian economy is growing at about five per cent annually, and the region’s GDP sits at $3 trillion.

Two thirds of South East Asia’s more than 600 million citizens are less than 35 years old which suggests high economic and consumer demand growth will continue in to the future.

But what does this mean for South Australian businesses?

With a growing population, strong economic position, close proximity to Australia and growing demand for high quality goods and services, South East Asia presents enormous potential for local businesses and the business mission program is helping capitalise on this.

Almost 90 businesses participated in last year’s program to South East Asia, forging 102 new business connections and generating export deals worth an estimated $163.5 million.

McLaren Vale based wine producer Alpha Box & Dice visited ten cities worldwide as part of last year’s business mission program and have returned for this year’s program, starting their journey in Indonesia and the Philippines this week.

“We are relatively new to exporting but have seen a huge amount of interest in Alpha Box & Dice in the numerous markets we have visited,” Export Manager Justin Fairweather said.

“From the trade missions, UK and some South East Asian markets already stock our products, with a number of other countries soon to follow.

“The relationships we have built in numerous countries with our export partners are in part thanks to the initial introductions via the State Government missions.

“The business missions attract some highly influential and important people. In many cases, these are contacts that you would not otherwise be able to meet or have access to, which is a huge advantage when trying to enter a new market and make a firm impression.

“Travelling with the State Government and more importantly, when led by a Minister, gives your presence in the market legitimacy. Important players in the market tend to take notice when the government is involved”.

The company’s export success has also supported a growing Adelaide workforce in roles across administration, marketing and operations as well as cellar door staff to help manage an increasingly busy cellar door.

When asked what advice he would give other businesses thinking of exporting to South East Asia, Justin stressed the importance of building a relationship over time.

“You have to be present – and it may take more than one trip to secure sales. Thinking that you can turn up on a trade mission and then have orders come through is, for the most part, not realistic.

“There needs to be lots of ground work and then follow-up activity to make sure you get the results you’re looking for. It’s a higher investment than just the trade mission itself”.

Alpha Box & Dice will continue to work on securing some export markets they have recently visited, as well as opening doors across new markets.

This trade mission is a key feature of the South Australia-South East Asia Engagement Strategy, which identifies opportunities for the State in areas including education, infrastructure, agriculture, food and wine, defence and advanced manufacturing, arts and professional services.

For more information about the international business missions program and State Government support available visit: http://www.statedevelopment.sa.gov.au/investment/business-missions

Solstice Media has partnered with the South Australian Government to provide information about our state’s international connections and engagement.

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