Winter 2021 Update
Southeast Asia continues to be a region of interest for Victorian exporters looking to diversify and reach a growing consumer market.
Contact Laura Burke, Regional Specialist, Southeast Asia
Stabilising freight prices coupled with accessibility and improved market access conditions have resulted in export growth to Southeast Asia recovering to pre-pandemic levels. Victoria’s reputation as a market of choice for reliable, high quality supply of Food and Beverage products and centre of Technological and Professional services expertise has boosted demand in critical sectors.
While traditional methods of trade mission delivery and engagement with customers have changed, Global Victoria and the Victorian Government Trade and Investment (VGTI) office Network in Southeast Asia continue to promote Victorian expertise and capability.
Southeast Asia eCommerce Accelerator
The Southeast Asia e-Commerce Accelerator is the inaugural program working directly with Victorian exporters in expanding their presence on leading e-Commerce platforms – Shopee and Lazada.
The first round of the Accelerator Program has now concluded, with 14 Victorian exporters from the Beauty and Wellness, Processed Foods and Nutraceutical sectors completing a 12-week program focused on improving marketing and distribution and channels on these key platforms, in key markets, Singapore and Malaysia.
A second round of the Program will commence in August 2021, focusing on the growing market of Vietnam.
Vietnman x Victoria (V2) Virtual Trade Mission
The Vietnam x Victoria (V2) Virtual Trade Mission was delivered from 8 – 30 June and featured 39 Victorian exporters from the Food and Beverage, Technology and Sustainability sectors. The trade mission program included multiple information sessions for Victorian exporters and Vietnamese stakeholders, and facilitated business matching sessions linking Victorian exporters with Vietnamese importers and partners.
The Vietnam x Victoria (V2) Summit was held on 15 June and was formally opened by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier – Mr Steve Dimopolous MP (pictured), and featured the first address by the Asia Society Victorian Distinguished Fellow – Ms Van Dang, CEO of SavvyCom. Over 400 participants from Victoria and Vietnam registered for this activity and others across the program.
This was the inaugural activity for the Victorian Government Trade and Investment (VGTI) office in Ho Chi Minh City, with several programs planned for the second half of 2021, including formal launches of the VGTI and Study Melbourne Hub in Ho Chi Minh City.
Interested in the Vietnam market?
For more information on how to access the Vietnam market and be involved in activities, contact the Global Victoria team.
On 29 March 2021, 184 Global Gateway Program grant recipients were announced, in which over 50 Victorian exporters were awarded grants to assist in market intelligence, market access and promotional activities for Southeast Asia.
The projects associated with the Grants are now underway with considerable outcomes expected for Victorian exporters across Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore.
Head to our Global Gateway page to learn about how the grants have helped grant recipients Pure Harvest, South Food Group, Max Biocare and Brown Family Wine Group diversify and engage with the dynamic Southeast Asia region.
December 2020 Update
In September 2020, Rebecca Hall was appointed the new Commissioner for Victoria to Southeast Asia.
Based out of Jakarta, Rebecca leads the Southeast Asia Victorian Government Trade and Investment (VGTI) offices that cover 11 countries with VGTI offices in Jakarta, Malaysia, Singapore and the most recent addition in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City.
Rebecca will work to advance Victoria’s trade and investment interests in the region.
Rebecca’s career spans international education, economic development and industry programs across local state and federal government. She re-joins the Victorian Government after 5 years leading international education strategy and policy for the Queensland Government and Australian Government (Austrade)
Rebecca is passionate about making a difference through global engagement and the power of trade and education for a better world. She holds holds a Bachelor of International Business Relations and a Masters of International Relations. She is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and in 2017 was awarded the International Education Association of Australia’s (IEAA) Leadership Award for her contribution to the sector.
Rebecca’s immediate priorities in the role include:
Maintaining a high level of engagement with key governments and partners in trade, investment and education across the dynamic Southeast Asia region, and the opportunity to open and set up the inaugural team of staff a new Victorian Government Trade and Investment (VGTI) office in the Ho Chi Minh City. This makes our 4th office for the region and 23rd for the network. Assisting Victorian exporters to navigate the changes in Southeast Asian markets and to be well positioned to capitalise on those changes to maintain and open new opportunities, including accessing government support through programs like the Economic Recovery Package to open and maintain markets in the region Delivering real time insight, market access services and virtual event programs to promote Victorian trade and investment, ensuring we embed the lessons of 2020 to improve and scale our reach and impact.
Rebecca summarised the challenges and opportunities facing Victorian businesses in Southeast Asia as follows:
“We recognise the challenges Victorian businesses operating globally and specifically in the diverse, dynamic and digital markets of Southeast Asia have faced this year".
To help deal with these challenges, the Victorian Government released a $15.7 million Economic Recovery Package in addition to the recently announced budget to address logistics and supply chain issues caused by the pandemic, and establish new export channels. Businesses will be connected to international markets through virtual trade missions as well as assistance to adapt their export strategies to respond to the rapidly changing global market.
“We have a strong and experienced team here in Southeast Asia, based in four offices in Jakarta, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Vietnam. They understand the challenges and are tracking the opportunities for Victorian clients. In 2019-20, Victoria’s merchandise exports to Southeast Asia was worth A$4.08 billion, contributing to 14.5 per cent of Victoria’s global exports."
“Southeast Asia’s internet economy reached US$100 billion for the first time in 2019 due to factors such as the growing middle class and increase in digital literacy; and is expected to triple by 2025 and is set to be further accelerated providing opportunities in sectors such as eCommerce.”
“International education as Victoria’s largest export is also a key focus for our education services managers in the region International education is not only an export sector, it's an opportunity to build and nurture talent and innovation.
Southeast Asia has a key role to play and we expect Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia to be key markets for innovation in the education offering. We are proud of the efforts from local and state government, along with our education providers, to support the more than 22,000 students from Southeast Asia who remained in Victoria during 2020 to continue studies. We are preparing to welcome international students back in 2021.”
“This is a fascinating time and many opportunities are presenting themselves for Victorian businesses. We need to stay focused, positive and be ready to adapt to change" Rebecca Hall - State Government of Victoria's Commissioner to Southeast Asia
Want to know more about this dynamic region?
For further information about the opportunities emerging in Southeast Asia, contact our specialist for the region, Jason Fitts – email@example.com
In-Market Insights Video Series 2020
In-Market Insights is a series of videos presented by our team from across Global Victoria's international network of 23 Victorian Government Trade and Investment offices (VGTIs).
The series sheds light on the current state of play in key global markets and sectors.
SOUTHEAST ASIA - eCommerce September 2020
Episode 22 features Leigh Howard, Deputy Commissioner for Victoria to Southeast Asia speaking from the Victorian Government's Trade and Investment (VGTI) office in Kuala Lumpur. Leigh shares insights on emerging opportunities in eCommerce for Victorian businesses looking to engage with the region.
VIDEO:Global Victoria's In-market Insights - SOUTHEAST ASIA - eCommerce September 2020
THAILAND: August 2020
Episode 18 features Raymond Peter - Global Victoria’s Government Coordination Director from the Trade and Investment (VGTI) office in Kuala Lumpur. Raymond shares insights on emerging opportunities in Thailand for Victorian businesses looking to engage with the region.
VIDEO:Global Victoria's In-market Insights - THAILAND August 2020
VIETNAM: August 2020
Episode 16 features Global Victoria’s Government Coordination Director, Bernard Oh from the Singapore Trade and Investment (VGTI) office.
Bernard shares insights on emerging opportunities in Vietnam for Victorian businesses looking to engage with the region. Global Victoria will be opening its 23rd VGTI office in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam soon.
VIDEO:Global Victoria's In-market Insights - VIETNAM August 2020
MALAYSIA: August 2020
Global Victoria’s Benjamin Lim - Trade Manager from the Victorian Government Trade and Investment (VGTI) office in Kuala Lumpur shares insights on emerging opportunities in Malaysia for Victorian exporter businesses looking to engage with the region.
VIDEO:Global Victoria's In-market Insights - MALAYSIA August 2020
SOUTHEAST ASIA: Education July 2020
Global Victoria’s Education Services Regional Director, Jo Hashim from the Victorian Government Trade and Investment (VGTI) office in Jakarta shares insights on emerging opportunities in education for Victorian exporters companies looking to engage with the region.VIDEO:Global Victoria's In-market Insights - SOUTHEAST ASIA: Education July 2020
INDONESIA: Education July 2020
In this video, Belinda Rimbo, Global Victoria’s Education Services Director from the Jakarta Victorian Government Trade and Investment (VGTI) office in Indonesia, shares her expertise on emerging opportunities for Victorian education providers in the region.VIDEO: Global Victoria's In-market Insights - INDONESIA: Education July 2020
INDONESIA June 2020
This episode features Global Victoria’s Government Coordination Director, Tanti Mihartini from our Indonesia VGTI office in Jakarta. Tanti shares her expert knowledge on the emerging opportunities in Indonesia for Victorian businesses.
VIDEO: Global Victoria's In-market Insights - INDONESIA June 2020
SINGAPORE May 2020
This episode features Global Victoria’s Trade and Defence Director, Jason Fuller. Based in our Singapore Trade and Investment (VGTI) office, Jason shares his expert knowledge about emerging opportunities in Singapore for Victorian businesses.
VIDEO: Global Victoria's In-market Insights - SINGAPORE May 2020
Summer 2020 Update
Southeast Asia is a growing source market for visitors to Victoria with growth averaging 39 per cent since 2014. This increasing demand from Southeast Asia reflects deeper commercial, education and people-to-people links.
Recent successes include:
- Citilink Indonesia has announced it will commence flights from Bali to Melbourne’s Avalon Airport in late-January 2020. This is Avalon Airport’s second international direct flight service after Air Asia X commenced a route to Kuala Lumpur.
- Vietnamese airline, Vietjet plans to launch direct flight services from Avalon to Ho Chi Minh City in late 2020.
Regional Victoria showcases its premium products
In February, Southeast Asian food buyers will visit Regional Victoria as part of an inaugural inbound mission to showcase Victoria’s horticulture products. Buyers from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brunei and Singapore will visit significant Victorian exporters of stone fruit, table grapes and citrus in Mallee, Loddon and Goulburn Valley regions.
Victoria is Australia’s leading exporter of horticulture products, with $345 million in exports to Southeast Asia in FY 2018-19.
Victoria welcomes West Java Governor
Mr Ridwan Kamil, The Governor of Indonesia’s most populous Province – West Java, visited Victoria in February, his first official visit. This reciprocates the visit by the Governor of Victoria in October 2019 and signifies the importance of this relationship. The Victorian Government has a Provincial Government Director, based in Bandung, the capital of West Java.
The Province of West Java has a population of 45 Million and is Indonesia’s 2nd most important economic region, with significant opportunities for Victorian companies in food and fibre, vocational education, infrastructure services and cleantech.
Spring 2019 Update
On 22 October 2019, the Premier of Victoria announced the opening of the 23rd Victorian Government Trade and Investment (VGTI) office in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh City is a key commercial hub for both Vietnam and Southeast Asia. The new VGTI office will enable greater access for Victorian companies to engage with the dynamic Vietnamese market.
In recent years, the Victorian Government has elevated its activity with Vietnam, including trade missions within water, food and vocational education sectors. Victoria has also encouraged an increase in Vietnamese students, visitor numbers and business and investor migrants. This trend is likely to continue in line with the rapid development of the Vietnamese economy, which grew at over 7 per cent in 2018.
Opportunities for Victorian food and beverage exporters to access an expanding consumer class in Vietnam are emerging, and the region's growing desire to upskill the Vietnamese labour force has resulted in an increase of onshore delivery opportunities for the Victorian vocational education and higher education sector.
The Government mandated development of Vietnam’s infrastructure has also created export opportunities for Victoria’s water sector, with eight Victorian companies travelling to Ho Chi Minh City in early-November for Vietwater – Vietnam’s largest water industry Expo. Victorian expertise in the water, liveability and urban infrastructure sector is highly valued by the Vietnamese Government and private sector. The Expo will provide an excellent opportunity for Victorian companies to showcase this expertise.
Want to know more?
Discover more about the opportunities emerging in Vietnam by contacting our regional specialist for Southeast Asia, Chris Hunter.
Autumn 2019 Update
A busy schedule of political events in Southeast Asia in early-2019 has occupied the minds of observers, however the elections are unlikely to alter business conditions in the near to medium term.
Elections in Thailand and Indonesia will likely see the re-elections of a pro-business candidate (Jokowi) and pro-military candidate (Prayut) with economic conditions continuing largely within the current status quo. Where the changes will affect Australian exporters largely falls within policy decisions of the respective bureaucracies, including reforms of the Halal Certification policy in Indonesia and ongoing Industry 4.0 strategy in Thailand.
Indonesian Halal Certification Policy
Halal certification of an expanded range of products will become mandatory from October 2019 covering products with any biological matter, including all chemical, biological and genetically engineered products in addition to traditional consumer goods such as food and beverage. While this is believed to ultimately streamline the certification process, it also poses significant issues for exporters to comply with the regulations prior to October.
Thai Industry 4.0 Strategy
The Industry 4.0 strategy from the Thai Government aims to modernize the digital economy and connectivity of Thailand through a range of initiatives including widening Thailand’s WIFI hotspot network, cultivating start-up and innovative communities and raising the technological capability of its workforce through STEM education. As 2019’s ASEAN Chair, Thailand has chosen Industry 4.0 as its key focus with the proposition of a Regional Industrial 4.0 Development Plan which in turn will help to shape digital related non-tariff barriers across the region.
While economic growth is steady across the region, nationalist economic policy has been a focus of recent election campaigns in Indonesia and Thailand and it has also been prevalent in Malaysia and the Philippines, where politicians have sought to combat negative export growth with economic policies targeting the growth of domestic manufacturers. This has not negatively affected Victorian exports to the region overall but will continue to be closely watched by Global Victoria for future policy changes.
ASEAN Trade and Investment Strategy
The Association of South East Nations (ASEAN) is comprised of 10-member states, including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. If the region were a single country, it would already be the fifth-largest economy in the world, with a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $US2.7 trillion in 2017. Home to more than 630 million people, it has a larger population than the European Union or North America, and the third-largest labour force in the world, behind China and India.
The region’s youthful population, declining fertility rates and stronger workforce participation is producing a demographic dividend, with ASEAN’s working-age population expected to account for 68 per cent of the total population by 20251.
ASEAN has dramatically outpaced the rest of the world in growth of GDP per capita since the late 1970s. This has been closely linked to high rates of urbanisation. Over one third of ASEAN’s population already lives in cities, but this third contributes more than two thirds of the region’s GDP. It is estimated that an additional 90 million people will live in cities by 2030, which could add more than US$50 billion to ASEAN’s GDP2.
Already some 67 million households in the region are part of the “consuming class”, with incomes exceeding the level at which they can begin to make significant discretionary purchases. That number could almost double to 125 million households by 2025, making ASEAN a pivotal consumer market of the future3. These consumers will be younger, with more discretionary spending power and a greater focus on premium products.
Victoria has a great opportunity to capitalise on the significant and growing markets on its doorstep in the ASEAN region. We have good economic relationships with key markets in the region and a well-established presence in market, with Victorian Government Trade and Investment offices in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia – but more can be done to better leverage existing links, relationships and expected growth in the region.
ASEAN Trade and Investment Strategy
On 5 March 2018, the Minister for Trade and Investment announced the preparation of a Victorian Government ASEAN Trade and Investment Strategy. The strategy will directly address the key opportunities and challenges coming from the region, and will build on the strong existing two-way connections between the parties.
The Victorian Government values your insights with regard to opportunities to grow and diversify the trade, investment and people-to-people relationships between Victoria and ASEAN. To guide the direction of the Strategy, we want your views on the future of Victoria’s engagement with the region: What is important to enhance trade and investment? What sectors should we focus on? What can we do better?
Source: 1, 2 and 3: