Building relationships is the key to doing business with ASEAN

05 May 2021 South East Asia

When you combine the innovation, skills and quality products of South Australian businesses with the energy and drive of the South Australian Government, South Australia is perfectly positioned to exploit the many existing and emerging trade and investment opportunities to be found across South East Asia, one of the fastest growing economic regions in the world.

Building relationships is the key to doing business with ASEAN and this takes time and commitment. It is rarely the first meeting or even the second or third that will result in an outcome, even if you do have an amazing product or service. Building a relationship of trust and nurturing that through regular personal contact over a period of time is critical. For those companies with vision and drive who are prepared to work hard and commit to a long-term ASEAN strategy, the potential rewards are huge.

I’m on hand to help South Australian companies map out a strategy for market entry, build networks, facilitate virtual meetings, support trade missions and be their on-the-ground advocate when they can’t be here in person. 

The COVID-19 restrictions on travel have taught us to be very creative in the way we provide support to South Australian exporters and there is much we can offer to help businesses succeed, despite the challenges.

Within ASEAN, health and education services are a high priority. Premium wine and food are also in demand, particularly from the rapidly growing middle-class in many ASEAN countries. South Australian companies should also be looking to leverage the expertise they are developing in the defence sector (for example, the naval shipbuilding program), space and renewable energy. 

As we move through the COVID-19 crisis and travel restrictions ease, tourism will resume and the demand in this sector is huge, especially around eco-tourism. People are looking for clean, green, interesting places to visit and enjoy, and South Australia has plenty to offer.

There is a wealth of information available on the South Australian Government and Austrade websites that will give companies an overview of the opportunities. There are also some significant grant and incentive programs such as the South Australian Landing Pad initiative, the South Australian Export Accelerator program and the Export Fundamentals Program, that companies should ensure they are across. 

When companies are ready to take a deeper dive, I am here to work with them to help them achieve success in ASEAN. My position is also co-located within Austrade so I will be able to tap into those networks to identify opportunities, gain market insights and support trade missions, when the time is right.

I am looking forward to working closely with my colleague, Adil Akbar, Senior Business Development Manager based in Kuala Lumpur, to maximise the opportunities for South Australian companies in Malaysia. Adil is already supporting food and beverage exporters to gain access to the market in Malaysia and I look forward to learning from his experiences and insights. I will also be utilising my expertise in defence and advanced manufacturing to help open doors in those sectors as well.

South Australia – it’s your time. ASEAN, in many ways, is a perfect match for all the sectors where South Australia exhibits strength. 

Any South Australian companies that would like support to enter the ASEAN market or want to learn more about the opportunities available, can contact Kristan Dooley,
Regional Director, South East Asia global office.