Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Australia – The Foreign Dependent, Not So Clever and Not Tech Savvy Nation

This has become the reality of the country for the last couple of decades. Australia’s survival depends upon foreign nations and nationalities. If one looks at it, various parts of the country is foreign owned, especially by US, China and UK. Out of the top 2000 Australian firms, 700 or so are foreign owned which includes BHP with 75% foreign ownership, Rio – 85%, Xstrata 100% and so on. And this continues with brands where 85% of the products within a supermarket trolley are either from an imported country or from a foreign owned company. The same has slowly started occurring with Australian properties including farmlands.

Even export wise, Australia’s 4th largest export sector after iron ore, gold and coal happens to be the tertiary education where it gets most of its revenue from international students. That includes the housing where international students are cash cows.

Does this mean the Australian tertiary education sector is doing well?
No, would be the answer. Why? Because:
1) Australia was just lucky in the last 10 years or so that it’s tertiary education sector did well for exports due to the US security rule changes and UK student visa limits
2) Corruption and economic mismanagement where there has been a decline in the student numbers

Would tertiary education be the only sector where economic mismanagement and corruption has occurred?
No, it wouldn’t be. If you look at it, just in last 7 years or so, Norway and Australia were the two countries that didn’t go into recession. Though, now, what’s happening is, Norway is still ok as an economy while Australia including industries are falling apart. And it’s not many global firms within Australia that are falling, as it’s mostly Australian firms within Australia.

What did Norway do that Australia didn’t?
Australia’s strategy for the last couple of decades has been to put all its eggs into 1 basket instead of diversifying. It doesn’t invest much towards other sectors and it sold Australia for free whether it’s with mining, agriculture, etc. Miners were charged just about 13% and that amount was not put into a fund. Norway, on the other hand, charged its miners around 70% and invested that money within a fund just like many others including Middle Eastern ones. Norway sits on trillions of $ while Australia sits on Zilch.

Why are just the Australian firms within the country falling apart?
1) 90 to 99% of the businesses within Australia are SMEs leading to Australia being called the small business nation, arising to limitation with its resources;
2) It is the only OECD country without an innovative or Science strategy and it doesn’t have a Science Minister;
3) Australia is culturally risk-averse and does not encourage innovation. Though Australia has come out with couple of innovations, it is way behind when compared to many of the OECD countries as well as some of the emerging nations. Australia has only recently come towards the mobile payments arena and the same could be said with regards to the cooptition or coopetition or coopertition strategy where rivals work together and innovate (few examples being Amazon and Netflix; MS, Apple, Samsung, FB, Google, etc; Tesla, Toyota and company). Also, Coles and Woolworths may now have duopoly within the supermarket sector but these two along with the other Aussie supermarket stores face challenges from Aldi, Costco and others due to innovation. And the same could be said about DJ, Myer and many of the Aussie retailers when compared to Zara and foreign company.

What are some of the innovative and ICT failures with regards to the Australian businesses?
This can be shown with just the Marketing Sector within the last year or so though other sectors face the same scenario:

Why has Australia failed with Marketing?
5) Traditional marketers thinking that the new types of marketing are nearly similar to the old types of marketing when they are not (outbound marketing techniques not similar to inbound or integrated marketing-scroll down the page and can see that part). Also, inbound marketing takes time

And due to the reasons above, Australia is being left behind with Marketing and many of the other sectors, which includes emerging consumer technology (wearable tech, Google Glass). The country does face loads of challenges as IT’S WAY BEHIND WITH SCIENCES and sadly, many of its innovative firms have left for US, UK and some of the Asian nations which includes Atlassian that left for UK (Atlassian is one of Australia’s leading start-ups). Also, the youth unemployment rate of Australia catches up with many of the European nations. Some parts of Australia, youth unemployment has touched close to or more than 20%. The overall unemployment, which is actually above 10 to 11% according to Roy Morgan, is officially above US’ unemployment rate.

Thus, can Australia change its complacent, laid back style or would it continue selling off its country to other nations and eventually to technologies and the robots as well? 

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