Australia: home to 48 of the world’s top 50 most innovative companies

Bosch and Monash University team up on “smart agriculture”

When you think Australia you might call to mind minerals, vast fields of agriculture or cricket.

But there is another reality about Australia – it’s a smart place.

International companies are leveraging Australia’s talent, government support and research to boost productivity, competitiveness and growth – according to data from Austrade and Boston Consulting Group.

Forty-eight out of Boston Consulting Group’s top 50 most innovative companies operate in Australia. These companies have partnered with Australian organisations to research additive manufacturing, renewable hydrogen technology and cloud supercomputing, among other areas.

Advanced manufacturing: General Electric

GE subsidiary GE Additive and the University of Sydney are establishing a high-tech manufacturing hub. The Sydney Manufacturing Hub will advance Australia’s capability in metal additive manufacturing technology.

Agricultural technology: Bosch

Bosch Australia and Monash University are co-developing Australia’s first smart agriculture research facility. The facility will contain a prototypical ‘smart farm’ to test: artificial intelligence; automation; robotic and advanced sensor technology solutions

Energy: Hyundai

Hyundai, Fortescue and CSIRO are working together to develop renewable hydrogen technology. The group seeks to:

  • develop new hydrogen technologies with the potential for bulk transport
  • build a renewable hydrogen refuelling facility, to deploy hydrogen fuel cell coaches
  • build the first combined hydrogen production and refuelling facility in Western Australia. 

Healthcare: Johnson & Johnson

The Johnson & Johnson Innovation Partnering Office @ Monash is a hub for researchers and early-stage companies. The facility allows them to develop novel pharmaceutical, medical devices, and consumer healthcare solutions.

Technology: Amazon Web Services and Intel

Amazon Web Services, Intel and AARNET established Australia’s first cloud supercomputing facility. Based at RMIT University, the facility focuses on advanced data processing and computing.

So, from the land of minerals, farming and cricket – there is also an advanced technology reason to team up with the Aussies.

Australian critical minerals, infrastructure, energy, technology, agribusiness, education and space – step up to the table for FTA talks with India

The Australian Trade Minister, The Hon Dan Tehan MP, last week pointed to Indian FTA priority areas such as critical minerals, infrastructure, energy, technology, agribusiness, education and space.

He announced a speeding up of talks with India last week and chose the launch of the Canberra chapter of the Australia India Chamber of Commerce to also announce an update of the India Economic Strategy.

This is a great time for business to step forward. You can have a say. You can be at the FTA discussion table.

The Minister said he had asked former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, to visit India for meetings around the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (which is an FTA).

He announced to the AICC that both countries were hopeful of concluding negotiations this year – a dramatic ramping up of the pace.

The AICC has the Hon. Ted Baillieu AO as its Founding Patron.

Australian Trade Minister announces boost to India FTA talks at launch of Australia India Chamber of Commerce chapter in Canberra

Major announcements made at launch of Canberra chapter of Australia India Chamber of Commerce.

The Australian Trade Minister, The Hon Dan Tehan MP, chose the launch of the Canberra chapter of the Australia India Chamber of Commerce to announce both a speed up to negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement and an update of the India Economic Strategy.

The Minister said he had asked former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, to visit India for meetings around the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (which is an FTA).

He announced to the AICC that both countries were hopeful of concluding negotiations this year – a dramatic ramping up of the pace.

The Minister pointed to trade and investment in areas such as critical minerals, infrastructure, energy, technology, agribusiness, education and space.

AICC in Canberra is led by Tony Huber, a Director within DFAT and former Consul in Mumbai, and Deepak Raj Gupta, former Member of the ACT Legislative Assembly.

If India’s tier 1, 2 and 3 cities attract Mercedes, maybe they should attract you?

India’s High Commissioner to Australia, HE Mr Manpreet Vohra, spoke at a recent Australia India Chamber of Commerce function

Really interesting comments made recently by the outstanding Indian High Commissioner in Canberra – His Excellency Mr Manpreet Vohra:

We all know the mega cities of India such as Mumbai, and everyone wants to be there, but what about the tier 1, 2 and 3 cities which account for:

50% of all Mercedes Benz sales in India

60% of Amazon sales

50% of the entire digital economy

You can see why India is set to be the world’s fastest growing large economy in the years 2021 and 2022.

Well done to the Australia India Chamber of Commerce for this event.

Bengaluru is India’s “must visit” city for all kinds of tech

New research based on data by Dealroom.co data and analysis by London & Partners – the Mayor of London’s international trade and investment agency – found Bengaluru as the world’s fastest growing tech ecosytem.

Bengaluru, often dubbed the Silicon Valley of India, has firmly cemented its tech credentials. The second Indian city was Mumbai, which made it into the top 10 fast-growing ranking at sixth place.

While Bengaluru, the capital city of the southern Indian state of Karnataka, grew 5.4 times from $1.3 billion in 2016 to $7.2 billion in 2020, the Maharashtra capital of Mumbai grew 1.7 times from $0.7 billion to $1.2 billion in the same period.

Bengaluru is also ranked sixth for the world’s tech venture capitalist (VC) investments, on a global list topped by Beijing and San Francisco, New York, Shanghai and London making up the top five. Mumbai comes in at No. 21 in the worldwide ranking, with Boston and Singapore among the other high-ranking cities.

Bengaluru is dynamic and global in feel, with sleek offices and countless quality bars and restaurants.

It used to be India’s “garden city” but has become a global “tech city”.

For EdTech, MedTech, AgriTech and in fact “any Tech”, Bengaluru is your India starting point.

It is also home to the dynamic Victorian Government Business Office led by Michelle Wade – essential to talk with them about your India entry plans.

India a prime target for Aussie exports and investment – Austrade

Austrade’s Ashley Brosnan puts the case for Australian businesses to quickly get into India:

Australian businesses continue to see opportunities across a range of sectors including education, mining and resources, infrastructure, agri-food, and digital services. Thanks to the steady success of some great Australian brands, Australia is already a trusted supplier and investor.

However, India remains a challenging place do business. Expansion requires a high degree of market literacy and on-the-ground experience. Local partners help exporters and investors to navigate markets and regulation – and these partners can prove invaluable.

Despite this, the Government of India has signalled that India is ‘open for business’. It is emphasising investment and competitiveness as factors that will support the economy and encourage a return to growth.

The effects can be observed already in global rankings. India has moved up 63 places in the World Bank ‘ease of doing business’ rankings in recent years.

Austrade is helping Australian companies to explore India

The Australian Government is investing heavily in developing commercial links between Australia and India. The Australia-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership agreed by Prime Ministers in June 2020 creates further opportunities for Australian business.

The Partnership seeks to build supply chain resilience between the two countries. It strengthens and diversifies trade and investment links with a focus on education, critical minerals and technology cooperation.

Today, Austrade posts across India are working intensively with Australian businesses to understand market, identify opportunities, make connections and help companies negotiate contracts.

India consumer spending skyrockets

India’s consumer spending a “revolution”

Austrade’s Ashley Brosnan on India’s consumer spending “revolution”:

The biggest revolution taking place is the rapid rise of a huge, diverse and wealthy consumer market. Despite the impacts of the pandemic, domestic demand is likely to be a major driver of recovery and growth over the next decade, making up 60% of the overall economy.

E-commerce is taking off as smartphone usage multiplies. India already has over 1 billion internet users and the digital economy’s contribution to GDP is projected to grow 15–20% by 2024.

Incomes are also rising strongly. India’s median income per household is expected to reach A$13,867 by 2025. The World Economic Forum considers that consumer expenditure in India will grow by a factor of four up to 2030.

This means over 80% of Indian households will be middle-income in 2030 – an increase of 140 million. Another 20 million will be considered high income.

India’s emerging and aspirational middle class is seeking premium food and beverage, healthy lifestyle products, technical infrastructure, quality healthcare and education, entertainment and consumer goods.

Trends in consumer demand are encouraged by a substantial, highly-skilled Indian diaspora in Australia, which is set to number 1.4 million in 2031.

India now a top FDI destination – assuring economic growth

FDI fuels double-digit growth

Austrade’s Ashley Brosnan sets out the FDI picture:

Despite the COVID-19 crisis, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into India grew 13% in 2020. This is an extraordinary achievement – and a landmark development in a country that has historically proved challenging to foreign investors.

The rapid inflow of investment makes India one of the few countries to experience double digit growth in FDI during 2020. It means India is now a top 10 destination for FDI, and it heralds a sea change in global investment sentiment.

Multinationals are seeking to move their supply chains into the subcontinent. The push factor is a desire to diversify from an over-dependence on China. The principal pull factor is a young, competitive workforce, particularly in the information technology and construction sectors.

FDI flows into India contrast sharply with the global picture. For example, FDI flows into China grew by 4% last year, while FDI flows globally fell 42%. FDI flows into developed economies fell 69%.

Investment in India is likely to grow significantly over the next decade.

India great agritech market but an insider advises “find local partners”

Agritech booming in India but be careful about market entry

A recent story in EVOKE, an agritech site, really caught my eye with a piece of sound advice.

It was so good to read the Managing Partner of Omnivore, Mark Kahn, with his greatest piece of advice to those not already there: do not to move to India immediately. Omnivore is the largest and oldest player in the Indian agritech venture scene

“I’ve never seen a foreign startup succeed in India that was selling directly. Sometimes we have very well-meaning people that relocate their lives here and think they’re going to be able to build an organisation from the ground up and the reality is it’s just very difficult.

“The best thing you could do is get some Indian members on your team, co-create solutions that bridge the gap between whatever you’ve developed earlier and whatever our local farmers actually need and find local partners.

“You should be manufacturing in Australia or maybe India, but you don’t want to build a distribution system yourself and even if you try, you’re not very likely to succeed.”

He pointed to agritech related to water and drought resistance as two high priority opportunity areas.

The agritech opportunities are huge, but INTO INDIA has been advising for a long time that you need partners and a collaborative mindset to really succeed in India.

Can trade steer the Indo-Pacific towards recovery?

Trade presents as a very mixed story for countries in the Indo-Pacific region – there appears to be both peril and opportunity ahead.

On the peril side – lockdowns, disrupted supply chains, security tension and travel restrictions.

What’s on the opportunity side?

Not much, but we should be optimistic.

The plunge in world trade could be bottoming out. Weak global growth could turn into moderate growth. Closed borders might soon open. And tensions around key areas of trade, technology and security (ie around China) could stop festering.

Or maybe pigs might fly?

What do you think is ahead?