The Australian Trade Commission has led eight young IT entrepreneurs to Shanghai, China, to represent their country at the APEC Young Leaders and Entrepreneurs Forum.
Austrade offered the trade tour to a select group of innovative IT entrepreneurs under the age of 40, and have taken over representatives from a diverse range of software developers hoping for new opportunities in a burgeoning Chinese market.
ARN spoke to several of the delegates as they weaved their way through the streets of Beijing in a bus under police escort. Jason Seed, chief executive officer of Queensland-based Shortcuts Software, said the experience would benefit both his career and the future of his company, which develops point-of-sales software.
"This is a good opportunity to network with people across the world," he said. "Our products are installed in over 2000 implementations in every continent on the planet, in seven different languages. But China and Asia as a whole have been a target market for us for about two to three years."
Shortcuts Software, which distributes in Australia through a channel of 30 specialist resellers, is looking for a similar channel in China to what has worked well at home. Seed employs 30 staff in Australia, but none are salespeople. Working with the channel means all 30 staff can concentrate their resources on developing new products.
"This is also an opportunity to discuss with other developers the different ways of going to market," Seed said. "It's pretty damn interesting to be honest."
Also on the tour was Louise van Rooyen, managing director and owner of Massive Interactive, Web developer of media projects such as the Web site for the disturbingly voyeuristic television show Big Brother. Van Rooyen said China is a massive opportunity for new media companies, citing that it already has 22 million Internet users, and by 2005 is expected to have the largest population of Internet users in the world.
"The government is providing special tax incentives for software development in China," she said. "It's an exciting market place - and we are open to opportunities for trade, partnerships and joint ventures."
Peter Bergman, Austrade's national manager for North-East Asia, said the expedition was an ideal opportunity for developers to meet similarly minded people from 21 APEC countries who share the same interests and issues. "It is great exposure for them," he said.
The Australian representatives at APEC's Young Leaders and Entrepreneurs ForumLouise van Rooyen, managing director of Massive Interactive (NSW).
Craig Martin, general manager of new business for Online Sports Marketing (NSW).
Morgan Drew, chief executive officer of Abuzz Technologies (NSW).
Libby Jeffrey, project manager for OzAuthors/IPR Systems (NSW).
Glenn Dickins, chief operating officer of Seeing Machines (ACT).
Michael Grosser, chief executive of Catalyst Interactive (ACT).
Edward Tapanes, managing director of Future Fibre Technologies (VIC).
Jason Seed, chief executive officer of Shortcuts Software (QLD).