The Australian Trade Commission (AusTrade) returned triumphant this week from a visit to the Philippines aimed at increasing the exposure of Australian IT companies in what is a rapid growth marketplace.
AusTrade timed the visit to coincide with the CommAsia 2001, an IT focused trade show held at the Philippines' World Trade Centre from May 24-26, 2001. Not only were the Australian companies represented at the show thanks to an AusTrade stand, but they also had the opportunity to meet with representatives of potential partners and customers in the Philippine market.
Participants in the AusTrade-backed trade mission included local software developers and integrators such Crossecom, the Infrontier and Microlistics joint venture, XLPRINT Software and Paradigm R&D. The Asia Pacific arm of developer tool vendor Borland was also represented.
Tony Poynton managing director of software developer and vendor, XLPrint, described the trip as very successful confirming that it opened the way to an increase in export opportunities for the company.
"It was hard work, we were very busy, but there was no wasted time," Poynton said. "The calibre of the people they had for us to meet and to lecture us on the Philippine market was very high."
Poynton also said the trip provided an important insight into business culture, operations and IT distribution channels in the Phillipines.
According to Chris Back, general manager of Crossecom AusTrade played a key role in enabling participants to access high levels of management within key Philippines companies.
"With AusTrade's assistance we were able to meet with the chief executive officers of several companies, as well as governmental representatives," Back said.
After making the trip, Back believes the Philippines offers huge potential for Australian IT companies.
"We were already working in the Philippines, and in this most recent visit signed a memorandum of understanding with a group that will trade under our name over there," Back said. "In the Philippines, businesses value very highly their perception of the relationship of an individual company and the government it represents, with AusTrade's assistance we have been able to open up new markets and make new contacts there."
Borland Asia Pacific's regional channel manager Gabrielle Webster said Philippine companies were increasingly looking to Australia as a place of partnership.
"What is exciting about the Philippines is the whole government agenda which is attempting to attract interest from IT companies throughout the world," Webster said. "They have a high literacy rate, and are great consumers of technology."