Tuesday 25 June 2019

Australia can open the door to Asia Pacific for Irish firms

Stock photo
Stock photo

David Eccles

Preparation for Brexit has increased the number of Enterprise Ireland-backed companies diversifying risk and looking to enter, or accelerate entry, into Asian markets.

We are delighted that the Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, will be travelling to Australia and Singapore with a trade mission of companies supported by Enterprise Ireland in March.

While Australia has a long, successful history as a market for Irish products and services, with over 300 EI-backed companies exporting there, it is also becoming the key launchpad into Asia Pacific (APAC) for international exporters.

In addition to geographic proximity, its common law system and large Irish diaspora, there are many reasons why establishing operations in Australia creates a smoother path into the wider region.

John Duggan, SVP South East Asia & Australia-New Zealand for tech company Daon, said: "The relatively common time zones help. There is also a trust factor that is generated by the fact that many Australians, or locals who have worked in Australia, are positioned in decision-making roles across companies throughout the region.

"Australia is recognised in the region as having well-regulated industries that produce solutions and services that you can depend on. It has proven a solid springboard for Daon in our efforts to expand our APAC business."

Duggan would know. Daon secured its first contract with the Australian federal government in 2005 and established its Australian office in 2007. Its local presence enabled it to expand to New Zealand. Over the last seven years, the APAC team, based in Australia, has secured contracts across the financial, telco and gaming sectors in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

Australia has also been a pioneer of free trade. Agreements with China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) provide Australian-based companies, and local operations of international companies, with unprecedented access to some of the largest and fastest-growing areas in the world, including Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Seven of Australia's top 10 trading partners are located in APAC and this focus has created a highly experienced, multilingual workforce that knows how to do business in Asia.

Irish companies which have used Australia as a regional springboard include Daon, Fenergo, Fineos and Sonru.

In August 2018, Commvault introduced Sonru video interviewing for customer support roles. It has been using Sonru across the Americas, EMEA and APAC, with consistent benefits in all three regions. Sonru is the trusted global leader and pioneer of automated online video interviewing for screening candidates.

With offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, Sonru clients include Westpac, PwC, Nestle, International Airlines Group (IAG), Queensland Health, Lendlease, Airbus, DHL and St. Vincent's Health.

Luke Falvey, CEO Sonru APAC, says: "Australia has been an excellent early adopter market for Sonru's automated online video interviewing solution. The curiosity, openness to cultural change within organisations, and ease of doing business, supported by Enterprise Ireland, has enabled Sonru to grow quickly. Australia has also been a springboard for growing our client base across the Asia and New Zealand regions."

Australia is in its 28th year of consecutive economic growth, and has projected growth of 3pc until 2020.

Enterprise Ireland is opening a new office in Melbourne and enhancing our presence in New Zealand to facilitate increased client enquiries and support local success. We encourage all companies supported by Enterprise Ireland to consider the strong Australasian market and the 'kangaroo' route to getting there.

David Eccles is director, Australia/New Zealand, at Enterprise Ireland and can be contacted at David.Eccles@enterprise-ireland.com

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