‘The rise of Asia’ or ‘the re-emergence of Asia’ does not reflect the reality of Asia’s place in the world today. Sustained economic performance and geostrategic forces have ensured that world economic weight is firmly centred in our region.
Successive Australian governments over the last 50 years have fostered deep economic relationships with the countries in our region. The range of free trade agreements concluded in the last five years alone is reflective of the continued progress made. With seven of our top 10 trading partners in Asia, and a growing proportion of cross-border investment with Asia, our economy is inextricably linked to the region. Migration flows, international students and tourists from the region, and our increasingly multicultural workforce confirm our deep connections with the region.
The impact of the novel coronavirus, a black swan event, has not been discriminatory. The devastating impact of the virus on the health, wellbeing and prosperity of nations across the world has been profound. Australia has to date managed its response to the pandemic highly effectively. Australia is one of the few countries to have had its economic forecasts revised by the IMF at mid-year to reflect improving economic prospects.
There is no room for complacency. The impact of the virus in waves on many of the countries in our region has highlighted that any prolonged recovery for Australia will be highly dependent on our partners in the region. Winning in Asia has never been more important to Australia’s economic prosperity and security. Going forward, sustainable long-term growth in the performance and returns of Australian businesses will be even more dependent on Asian markets. Winning in Asia’s highly competitive markets will be central to sustaining our per capita income levels, adding sustainable jobs to the workforce, and growing our long-term pool of national savings. Our largest companies will be central to this proposition.
Two years in the making, Winning in Asia: Creating long-term value is a project that seeks to dispel many of the commonly held perceptions of the challenges of doing business with the region. It seeks to provide fresh, evidence-based analysis which makes a compelling case for why our largest companies should increase their exposure to Asian markets. This report, which details the findings and recommendations from this project, considers major questions posed over a long period of time by Australian business leaders, policymakers and investors.
For instance, does offshore expansion lead to superior returns for the shareholders of Australian companies? Which companies – Australian and non-Australian – have grown market share, profitability and returns in Asian markets? What are the capabilities Australian boards and senior executive teams need to enable their respective organisations to succeed in Asian markets? And, how can Australian companies best manage the risks associated with doing business in the region?
Together with a taskforce of some of Australia’s pre-eminent business leaders and our knowledge partners, we have considered these questions, which have profound implications for the Australian business and investor community and government.
With over 300,000 data points of evidence-based analysis, the findings and recommendations require critical consideration to ensure a long-term sustainable recovery from the pandemic.
We are proud to have brought together the insights, capabilities and connections of Asialink Business, the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and The Sid and Fiona Myer Family Foundation.
This report is a call to action to Australian businesses to understand the factors essential to win in competitive Asian markets. We hope it replaces uncertainty with confidence, myths with reality, and a local mindset with a global mindset with Asia at its core. Australia’s future prosperity depends on it.
Mr Sid Myer AM
Chair, Myer Family Investments
Mr Mukund Narayanamurti
CEO, Asialink Business and Project Director, Winning in Asia
Ainslie van Onselen
CEO, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand
CEO, Australian Institute of Company Directors
Head of Asian Business Banking,
Commonwealth Bank of Australia