Looking to ASEAN and beyond

Christine Holgate, Australia Post’s Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director was at the ASEAN Australia Business Summit (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) this week to give a keynote speech, alongside Chua Sock Koong, the CEO of Singtel, Singapore’s largest telecom provider.

Speaking to an audience of 350 owners and leaders of small businesses across a variety of sectors, many who operate in ASEAN nations, the two leaders drew on their wealth of knowledge to present their outlook for doing business in the region.

As part of a video shown at the event, Christine spoke of the importance of ASEAN to Australia. “ASEAN is already Australia's second biggest trading partner. In 2015, there were 40 million people considered middle-class in the region. By 2030, that's going to be 160 million. It's 50% greater than average global growth and has more than double the GDP growth of Australia.”

Christine also spoke of the advantages that Australia had and why our nation is important to ASEAN nations. “The high manufacturing standards that there are in Australia is a huge advantage to us,” she said. “They do create an element of quality about our products, that all over the world, they're trusted and respected.”

In January we announced the creation of a new business division, International Services, to help Australia Post grow outbound exports. Our half year results highlighted healthy growth of inward bound items from Asia (up 45%) with most of these coming from China, but showed opportunity for outbound growth from Australia to Asia, is strong.

When asked about her ambitions for Asia, and what it would mean for the average Australian worker, Christine was buoyed with optimism. “I would love my legacy not just to be about protecting jobs, but growing jobs. With our partners we employ over 100,000 people. It's really important that we keep that network alive and vibrant. It is our generation that must enable trade between Australia and the region.”

She added that on top of that, if she had a personal ambition for ASEAN it would be “that we have an AFL/ASEAN Pacific Grand Final - Collingwood versus Hanoi!”

(Main image: Christine Holgate, CEO of Australia Post on a panel at the ASEAN Business Summit with Singtel CEO Chua Sock Koong)