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With the overwhelming success of the 2006 Exporter of the Year Awards still in memory, Dynamic Export takes a closer look at the winners and how they can draw on their wins to drive more export sales.

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Some of Australia’s export success stories were honoured for their success at the 2006 Exporter of the Year awards held last November.

At the event, Warren Truss, Australia’s Minister for Trade, praised the range of exporters in the country. "From the city to the bush, from large corporations to small businesses, the enterprises honoured here tonight provided a vivid snapshot of the expanding number and diversity of companies that are driving Australia’s export performance. Exports rose 17 per cent to reach a record $196 billion in 2005–06."

He went on to explain the 83 finalists in the 2006 Australian Export Awards generated export earnings of more than $12.5 billion in 2005–06, and directly employ more than 36,000 Australians.

In total, 12 companies were acknowledged for their success, ranging in size and experience, from a total of 83 finalists. "While established exporters continue to be well represented in the Awards program, we are increasingly seeing strong entries form a wide range of new enterprises, service providers and small to medium companies" says Peter O’Byrne, CEO of Austrade. "They are leading examples of business talent that are taking Australian products and services to the world."

The winners of the 2006 Export Awards are:

2006 DHL Exporter of the Year


ResMed was established in 1989 to develop and commercialise products to treat patients suffering from with sleep disordered breathing conditions, including obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition now as prevalent in the population as diabetes.

While there were plenty of nay-sayers regarding the technology in the early days, the company has gone on to huge success, with 2,500 staff worldwide selling into 68 countries. Listed on both the New York and Australian Stock Exchange, ResMed’s revenue recently topped US$600 million in 2006.

Paul Eisen, senior vice president for the Asia Pacific region, says the company now handles around 65 percent of the worldwide market in this area, and what they’re seeing is only the tip of the iceberg, as the market increases. "One of the real issues we’re dealing with is awareness," he explains. "Probably three percent of people that should be diagnosed or treated for OSA are diagnosed or treated—97 percent are not—so there’s a big opportunity."

For this reason, the company invests in several awareness campaigns, particularly in the US market. It also invests a percentage of revenue into research and development to stay ahead of the competition.

The company launched into export in the second half of the 90s, after quickly succeeding in the local market. "We thought this was a big market. But very quickly realised it’s not," Eisen says. Moving into the US and European markets occurred almost simultaneously, and the company has developed firm presences in many European countries by acquiring their original distributors. Their foothold in the Asia Pacific region includes offices in countries including Hong Kong, India, China, New Zealand, as well as a network of distributors in other regions.

And although the Australian market makes up just three percent of the company’s revenue these days, the homeland is still very important.

Eisen says winning Australian Exporter of the Year (as well as the Large Advanced Manufacturer category) rates very highly. "It’s a huge amount of pride. When you have 2,500 people around the world winning an Australian export award—every single one of them is delighted," he says. "It adds additional motivation within the organisation. People come to work knowing that they’ve won the Australian Exporter of the Year award."

Externally, the company will certainly be including this latest award in promotional material, Eisen explains, because the Australian name is highly regarded for quality around the globe. "We don’t walk into any country in the world where they say ‘I don’t want to buy an Australian product’," he points out, urging fellow exporters to not be shy about flying the Aussie flag high when selling themselves on the global market.

And while the ResMed trophy room is filling up (including an Exporter of the Year gong in 2002), there’s a prime position reserved for this latest accolade. "We’re very fortunate, we’ve won a lot but I must say Australian Exporter of the Year rates as one of the highlights for ResMed."

ACCI Agribusiness Award

Botanical Food Company (Qld)

It’s Gourmet Garden range of herbs and spices packaged in their distinctive tubes, using technology designed to keep them far longer than their dried or cooked counterparts, is now available in over 13,000 supermarkets in Australia, US, UK, Canada, Europe and New Zealand.

Austrade Arts, Entertainment and Design Award

Rising Sun Pictures (SA)

A big name in the visual effects community, Rising Sun Pictures have collaborated on recent international projects, including Charlotte’s Web, Superman Returns and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Microsoft Education Award

Box Hill Institute (Vic)

Over 1,000 students are enrolled in Box Hill Institute campuses located in Fiji, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, China and the Middle East, as well as an increasing number of international students coming into Victoria to study at the institute.

AusIndustry Emerging Exporter Award

Aconex (Vic)

Providing document management and collaboration systems, Aconex helps over 30,000 companies in the construction industry, across 40 countries including Asia, the Middle East, Africa and North America.

Ernst and Young Information and Communication Technology Award

Mincom Limited (Qld)

Software developer Mincom earns almost half its revenue from clients overseas. It has offices in 13 countries, including North and South America, Africa, Russia and China. 2006 saw the company deliver its best results in its 27-year history.

Caterpillar/Australian Made Large Advanced Manufacturer Award

ResMed (NSW)

See Exporter of the Year

Minerals Council of Australia Minerals and Energy Award

Rio Tinto Iron Ore (WA)

One of the largest product group from the Rio Tinto stable, this company is a big player in mineral exports (it earned over $5 billion in export revenue in 2005) and directly employs 4,000 staff. The company has committed almost US$4 billion to increase the export capacity of the Pilbara Region in Western Australia.

Australian Business Limited Regional Exporter Award

Barrier Reef Pools (Qld)

Claiming to be the largest manufacturer of fibreglass pools in the southern hemisphere, Barrier Reef Pools now sells into the Middle East, US, Fiji, PNG, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines from its base in Cairns.

Export Finance and Insurance Corporation Services Award

Ausenco (Qld)

Ausenco provides engineering and project management services to the mining industry, and has worked within Australia and on every continent on the globe. The company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange earlier this year, and has offices in China, North America and the Philippines, as well as Australia.

Commonwealth Bank Small to Medium Manufacturer Award

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aussieBum (NSW)

Ninety percent of sales for aussieBum’s swimwear, underwear and leisure range are made to foreign markets. A previous winner of the Emerging Exporter category, it now sells into around 75 countries worldwide.

CPA Australia Small to Micro Business Award

Wild Child WA (WA)

Launching into the huge UK chain of Boots Chemists in 2004 was an export coup for Wild Child and its range of head lice treatment and other health care products. Markets now include also New Zealand, Taiwan, the Middle East and several European countries.

Accor Sports, Events and Tourism Award

Victoria Racing Club (Vic)

As home to the Melbourne Cup Carnival, the Victorian Racing Club is responsible for a huge amount of tourist dollars coming into the Garden State, with a recent study indicating the carnival contributes over 50 percent more than the state’s next biggest event, the Australian Tennis Open.

Exporting Australian Flowers

Two very different industries are providing growing potential for Australian exporters in Japan.

The market for Australian flowers is increasing, according to experts at a recent forum at the University of Queensland.

Native Australian flowers such as the kangaroo paw, wax flower, rice flower and umbrella fern, are all taking off in the Japanese market. "Unlike Australians who, for the majority, use flowers to celebrate special occasions, the Japanese are huge consumers of floral products," says forum leader Lilly Lim-Camacho, researcher for the university’s Centre for Native Floriculture. "They spend a significant amount of time and money each week sourcing bouquets which feature all around their homes including entrance halls, dining rooms and even the kitchen."

The forum brought together representatives from all sections of the supply chain, "The group included a grower from Victoria, a foliage supplier from Queensland, and Australian exporter, and Japanese importers, auction houses and florists," Lim-Camacho explains. "In addition, we also had representatives from the Australian Flower Export Council and the Queensland Government Trade Office in Tokyo."

Attendees at the forum discussed challenges and successes in producing and delivering flowers to the Japanese market, and by the close of the forum had developed a viable promotional strategy to make further inroads into Japan.

Also, a new report from Austrade discusses the latest market to spring up from the Japanese huge uptake of technology. The Japan Market Report says the huge amount of commerce done via mobile phones in Japan has given rise to the new term ‘M-commerce’. With over 60 million Japanese using their mobiles to access things such as mobile television and radio, and music downloads, Australian companies should look at opportunities to target products to this market, says Phil Ingram, Austrade’s senior trade commissioner in Tokyo. "Australian ICT players should consider opportunities ranging from IP/broadband-based communications, networking, wireless communications, internet applications, satellite communications and software product development."

Ingram says a range of industries will benefit from institutional changes in Japan. "New government reforms and restructuring, along with a dynamic new Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe who’s created strategies for achieving higher growth for the Japanese economy, means the market is ripe for the taking for Australian businesses."

HSBC Partners With China

A new service by HSBC promises to make things a little easier for exporters doing business in China.

ChinaExpress is the first trade product from HSBC’s partnership with China’s Bank of Communications, and allows Australian exporters access to over 2,700 offices in 137 cities across mainland China.

David Morton, Australia’s head of commercial banking for HSBC, says the service means exporters have access to two banks, without double the associated fees. "Through our partnership with Bank of Communications, we can offer ChinaExpress at a single tariff and with market-leading turnaround times, using the combined networks of both Bank of Communications and HSBC across mainland China."

Services offered include import and export services, trade financing, factoring, electronic documentary credit advising and internet trade services. For more information on ChinaExpress contact HSBC Australia on 1300 308 019.

Australian Export Trusted

In what can only bode well for international players wanting to do business with Australia, we have been ranked highly on a listing of countries perceived to have a low risk of internal corruption.

Australia scored 8.7 out of 10 on a scale where zero indicates high levels of perceived corruption and 10 signifies low levels, and retained it’s creditable ninth ranking on the 2006 Corruption Perceptions Index.

"The 2006 Corruption Perceptions Index is a composite index that draws on multiple expert opinion surveys that poll perceptions of public sector corruption in 163 countries around the world," explains Huguette Labelle, chair of Transparency International, which publishes the index.

The country ranked with the highest perception of corruption was Haiti, followed by Guinea, Iraq and Myanmar. Finland, Iceland and New Zealand were deemed to be perceived as the least corruptible countries.

Export Finance Options

Looking to grow your business through exporting, but don’t want to put your house on the line? Provident Inventory Finance’s Matthew Nolan shares some tricks of the trade.

There are many good reasons for trading abroad. Most importantly, you’ll substantially increase your potential customer base, stimulate business growth, and open new opportunities to diversify.

While the lure of profiting from exports is attractive, they can come with unmanageable payment delays from overseas purchases. The use of export finance to enable overseas sales has been common practice among Australian SMEs for many years.

Until recently, however, export finance options have been restrictive. The most common is the traditional bank overdraft facility. Whilst useful, an overdraft can be an expensive and restrictive cash flow solution, as it doesn’t take into consideration the value of the stock funded. Importantly for many SMEs, overdrafts are usually secured against property, in most cases the family home.

The good news for SME’s looking to grow their business through export, is that alternatives have now become available outside of traditional lender’s real estate based finance.

One of these major advances in finance is that the stock you intend to sell can now be used as leverage to access finance. New funding channels, such as inventory finance, allows ambitious exporters to finance their stock purchases without having to put the family home on the line, with payments aligned to when the sales income is received from overseas buyers.

Securing cash flow financing for exports can also be made less reliant on your property as security if the buyer is of good financial standing, the relationship is stable and you’re using Documentary Credits. This can allow for an increase in your finance facilities to assist growth, without the normal levels of real estate security.

If you’re selling to major overseas buyers, export factoring is another option available for Australian exporters that also doesn’t require property as security to fund overseas sales.

Funding overseas trading really is much easier than it was a decade ago. If you’re keen to explore the alternatives, it really is just a matter of doing the research to find the best solution for your business.

Hong Kong Trade

Recently, Dynamic Export was invited to Hong Kong to attend the World SME Expo and Innovation and Design Expo (IDE), running from November 29 to December 1.

The government-run Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) played host to the group of journalists, who were invited to meet with government officials and economists to discuss the strength of the Hong Kong economy, the benefits of trade in Hong Kong and how they can help businesses
looking to expand into the Asian ‘gateway’.

The expos coincided with HKTDC’s ‘40 Years of Trade’ celebrations, and were organised to help SMEs explore international market opportunities, taking particular advantage of Hong Kong’s close proximity with mainland China and opportunities existing through the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) and China’s accession into the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The World SME expo attracted more than 25,000 SMEs from around the world, 86 making the trip from Australia and New Zealand. Australian representatives included the Hong Kong–Australia Business Association and CPA Australia.

The expo also included the 7th Hong Kong Forum, where SME participants got to network with decision makers and top executives from around the world, and access the latest information about how to better access Hong Kong and Chinese markets and HKTDC’s business matching skills.

There were 58 delegates from Australia who took part in the forum, 30 of which were from Adelaide and led by Michael Harbison, Adelaide Lord Mayor.

More than 32,000 attendees at IDE (82 from Australia and New Zealand) were treated to the latest innovations, practical technologies and design solutions to help the trading, manufacturing and service sectors enhance their capacity to supply world markets.

The expo offered inventors and designers a chance to take advantage of Hong Kong’s well-developed infrastructure and legal system that protects intellectual property (IP) rights, and offers a safe gateway into mainland China, where there can be greater risk of IP infringements.

Participants included Australian inventor Colin Johanson, creator of the Kangan Roo sports wheelchair, and winner of the people’s choice award on ABC’s New Inventors program. Johanson’s invention was born of a desire to create an electronic wheelchair that he wanted to get around in. His trip was sponsored by the HKTDC, and offered him the chance to get his design from idea and patent stage to manufacture. "Funky looking products break down barriers and start conversations," Johanson says of the public’s response to the design so far.

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