Australia’s exports to Macau have increased by over 28% since 2002. The increase coincides with Macau’s liberalisation of its casino industry.

According to Austrade, Macau’s entertainment led boom is creating export opportunities for Australian businesses particularly for building and construction goods and services.

A major inflow of U.S. and Australian capital investment in new Las Vegas style developments has occurred since the liberalisation of Macau’s casino industry in 2002.

Macau’s building and construction expansion has led to a number of Australian firms winning business such as Bluescope Steel, James Hardie, Boral and Tradition Stained Glass (TSG).

The contracts awarded to date vary from providing structural steel products, wall and partitioning systems, construction and engineering services, quantity surveying to stained glass.

Other developments such as direct flights from Australia to Macau planned to be introduced within the next couple of months will boost Australia’s exports even further.

The possibility of a regular direct air service between Australia and Macau in the next couple of months will open a new air freight channel for Australian suppliers direct to customers in Macau, with the prospect of quicker delivery times and lower transportation costs, making Australian products even more competitive and attractive.

Macau’s GDP growth was 14% in 2003 and 28% in 2004 and after slowing to 6.7% in 2005, the first three quarters of 2006 witnessed growth averaging around 15%.

According to Austrade, Macau’s construction boom will lead to an increase of hotel capacity by around 20,000 new rooms over the next five years.

Businesses wanting to take advantage of the expanded opportunities brought on by the growth in Macau are wise to consider some key entry strategies.

It is important the agent/distributor is well connected, familiar with market characteristics, committed to supporting the Australian product and able to communicate effectively in English and Chinese and of course willing and able to pay.

A well planned strategic move into exports by Perth-based small business TSG can provide many lessons to an array of firms, especially those targeting the Macau market. TSG’s first export job was in Macau to provide stained glass screens for the VVIP room at the Hotel Lisboa.

According to TSG, Austrade’s Hong Kong office laid the foundations for it to win the contract and then to finalise. Everything was done via emails and video conferencing.

TSG’s whole strategy for success in exports was to embrace new technology, such as emailing and video conferencing. Some measures TSG took included making a DVD, which was handed out to clients overseas. TSG also has a lot of new brochures coupled with its website it provides the whole kettle of fish.

TSG made sure it had computers and could put on staff to ensure that when it did take on the big jobs the company could handle it. TSG is already flat-out in Australia with contracts, so being able to grow smoothly was essential and the company did not want to make the move into exports without being prepared. Regarding export advice, Austrade’s assistance has been good.

Austrade was helpful at a ground level, establishing connections that TSG would otherwise have found difficult to get in touch with.

Austrade is organising a Building with Australia mission to Hong Kong and Macau in October.