what’s up down under

Monday 7 December, 2009

The Business Network Chicago international group hosted the Australian Trade Commissioner based in Chicago Ian Smith who made this presentation: Australia – A Dynamic Economic Partner 1109

Here’s what he had to say in addition to the presentation:

  • Foster’s lager is not even available in Australia because the brand is brewed by Miller Coors in Milwaukee.
  • 60-85% of the Australian population lives within 30 miles of the coast.
  • 30% of Australia’s GDP is exported-2/3 of what they produce is exported.
  • Melbourne has the most Greeks outside of Athens, Greece.
  • Boat people are creating problems when floating over from Indonesia.
  • Australia is proportionately strong:  despite only having .5% of the world population, it accounts for 1.37% of GDP.
  • Australia has not suffered from the global recession.  Mining there has contributed to China’s growth.  Their banks had few bad loans, so they’ ve maintained stability.
  • Baxter, Caterpillar, & John Deere are successful Illinois companies down under.
  • Due to vast experience with droughts, Australia is strong in water conservation.  Boeing is investing in biofuels there.  Wind & solar power are growing.
  • YellowTail wine is a great example of an Australian success story.  They’re a small family-owned firm from a town with a population of 600.  They planned on shipping 20,000 cases their 1st year , but did 100,000.  1/3 of all Australian wine comes to the US.


  • Australia sports a world-class wireless infrastructure, although rural coverage is an issue.

Similarities/differences with Americans:

  • Aussies are too modest to mention world changing technologies
  • friendship comes before business there, the reverse of America
  • while it’s tough to reach decision-makers in the US, Aussies consider it rude not to reply
  • Aussies suffer from the fallacy “if I can just get 1% of the market…”
  • intellectual property issues are typically bigger in the US than down under.

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