Asia continues to present a solid outlook for Australian companies with China remaining the number one individual market in which to do business, while collectively the ASEAN region is showing great promise, a report by leading Australian bank ANZ revealed on Thursday.
ANZ's fifth annual Opportunity Asia Report surveyed over 1,000 Australian business decision makers across a range of industries and showed that of the companies active in Asia, 70 percent are engaged in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region, compared with 69 percent in China alone.
"Over the past five years, Asia continued to be a powerhouse of economic growth when compared with traditional markets of the United States, United Kingdom (Britain) and the European Union," ANZ Managing Director of Commercial Banking Isaac Rankin said.
"Across ASEAN, increasing urbanisation, growing income and evolving consumer demands are supporting changing expectations around infrastructure, energy and education, leading to modern economies which are ripe with opportunity," the report said.
ANZ's survey of Australian business leaders showed that 64 percent of companies currently active in Asia expect to expand their operations within the next three years, and that 51 percent generate a higher profit margin from their Asian operations than their Australian based activities.
And there seems to be plenty of room for newcomers also, with 47 percent of businesses generating a positive return on their investment in Asian operations within three years.
However, the success of Australian businesses in Asia is far from assured, and many companies are working hard to transcend barriers such as language and culture, partly by adapting to rapidly growing e-commerce marketplaces.
With Asian consumers turning away from traditional bricks and mortar stores, the survey showed that more Aussie retailers than ever are using platforms such as Alibaba, JD.com and WeChat to make sure that the "Australia Brand" remains relevant in the years to come.