In good com­pany

Host­ing an in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence in Syd­ney has in­cred­i­ble bene­fi­fits, from at­tract­ing the best tal­ent in the world to gain­ing new in­sights and mak­ing sci­en­tifific break­throughs through col­lab­o­ra­tion.

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Syd­ney will host Si­bos 2018 in Oc­to­ber, at­tract­ing more than 6000 bank­ing and fi­fi­nance lead­ers from all over the world and in­ject­ing $37 mil­lion into the NSW econ­omy. How did it beat other in­ter­na­tional cities for the notable host­ing gig? It won with the help of Busi­ness Events Syd­ney, a strate­gic bid­ding or­gan­i­sa­tion that works to se­cure pres­ti­gious in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ences and con­gresses for the state and its cap­i­tal city. CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith ex­plains how Busi­ness Events Syd­ney brings far-reach­ing bene­fi­fits to its part­ners.

What’s some­thing about Busi­ness Events know Syd­ney Syd­ney that peo­ple may not know?

We’re renowned for se­cur­ing large busi­ness events for Syd­ney and NSW but most peo­ple don’t know about the var­i­ous com­mer­cial out­comes that come as a re­sult. We drive what’s called legacy bene­fi­fits. We part­ner with the NSW Gov­ern­ment and the pri­vate sec­tor to drive trade and in­ward in­vest­ment and we en­cour­age busi­ness mi­gra­tion for cor­po­ra­tions that want to set up an of­fif­fice in Syd­ney or re­gional NSW. We also have a tal­ent at­trac­tion pro­gram; we’re try­ing to con­vince the best tal­ent com­ing out for con­gresses to live and work in Syd­ney. Where tal­ent goes, in­no­va­tion and cap­i­tal fol­lows.

In what ways can se­cur­ing a con­fer­ence or congress help in­dus­try?

We’re bring­ing the best peo­ple to Aus­tralia and we’re also show­cas­ing our best. That drives new ideas, knowl­edge and tech­niques that in­crease in­dus­try pro­duc­tiv­ity. It also boosts the brand of the des­ti­na­tion – Syd­ney is po­si­tioned as a hub of in­no­va­tion. Dr Pia Win­berg, for ex­am­ple, used con­fer­ences in Syd­ney to get the sup­port and fund­ing she needed to turn sea­weed into a sus­tain­able food source and is now tak­ing that to de­vel­op­ing coun­tries to help com­bat chronic mal­nu­tri­tion. She’s also do­ing tri­als with it in our cor­rec­tive ser­vices sys­tem.

What does it take to se­cure a host­ing bid?

Four things: a vi­sion for what we’re try­ing to achieve with the event; a highly re­garded in­dus­try leader to head up the bid; a busi­ness case out­lin­ing ad­van­tages we have over our global com­peti­tors; and a com­pelling des­ti­na­tion, Syd­ney. We win about 70 per cent of our bids – that’s 70 events out of the 100 that we bid for each year.

What ex­cit­ing event do you have on the hori­zon?

The Global Sum­mit of Women in April, where 1000 women from all over the world – in­clud­ing Kaza­khstan, China, South Africa and Canada – will be com­ing to Syd­ney. The fo­cus is on the eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment of women, and both per­sonal and pro­fes­sional so­lu­tions will be dis­cussed. Women can do it all but we need sup­port around us and we need to learn from one an­other.


The United States, the United King­dom and New Zealand lan­guaghave­haves­im­i­lar­lega­land­taxobli­ga­tion­sand­nolan­guage bar­ri­ers, mak­ing them the tra­di­tional mar­kets for Aus­tralian on­line busi­nesses. While these three eCom­merce mar­kets con­tinue to ex­pand, the ma­jor growth op­por­tu­nity is in China and, in­creas­ingly, South- East Asia, where mar­ket­ing, reg­u­la­tions and dis­tri­bu­tion are more com­plex.

Aus­tralia Post’s ex­pand­ing range of part­ner­ships and joint ven­tures helps Aus­tralian busi­nesses de­velop strate­gies to en­ter new mar­kets, nav­i­gate lo­cal laws and de­liver parcels safely and se­curely to cus­tomers. Its col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Alibaba Group gives lo­cal com­pa­nies ac­cess to China’s dom­i­nant on­line mar­ket­place, Tmall Global, via the Aus­tralia Post flflag­ship store. Other key part­ner­ships in­clude China’s se­cond ma­jor eCom­merce hub, (and its 500 mil­lion reg­is­tered cus­tomers), as well as Lazada, the pre­mier on­line shop­ping des­ti­na­tion for South- East Asia.


For busi­nesses mostly sell­ing via an over­seas mar­ket­place, re­mem­ber that your “. au” web­site is where your global cus­tomers will go to re­search prod­ucts. “Op­ti­mise for lan­guage as well as mo­bile and use geocod­ing to work out where searches are com­ing from,” says Ben. “The mar­ket­ing efff­forts on your home site are crit­i­cal, even if cus­tomers buy your prod­ucts in an ex­ter­nal mar­ket­place. If you are re­ally in­vest­ing in tar­get­ing Chi­nese con­sumers but your web­site is in English, you’re miss­ing out. Use your app, chat­bots and ar­ti­fi­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence to sug­gest prod­ucts and ser­vices based on pre­vi­ous choices. In­stant grat­i­fi­fi­ca­tion is manda­tory when you’re build­ing your brand.”


Aus­tralia Post’s tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions for Aus­tralian eCom­merce busi­nesses make it eas­ier to tap into data an­a­lyt­ics to help them grow their com­pany over­seas. The na­tional car­rier has a strong pres­ence at eCom­merce fo­rums, both lo­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally. Ben says an in­te­gral part of Aus­tralia Post’s role is ed­u­ca­tion.

“When you’re launch­ing out­side your dom­i­nant re­gion, we sug­gest on­line mar­ket­places are the way to go. Aus­tralia Post has mar­ket­place ser­vices to al­low lo­cal busi­nesses to do that with a low-risk, low-touch model via our flflag­ship stores on Tmall Global and, rather than go­ing head­fi­first into China, which can be com­pli­cated and costly.”


“One in three eCom­merce trans­ac­tions in Aus­tralia takes Aus­trali­apla­ce­placeo­nan­in­ter­na­tion­al­site,”saysBen.“Aus­tralian con­sumers are buy­ing more from over­seas than ever be­fore, re­gard­less of for­eign- ex­change im­pacts.”

On­line shop­pers favour three re­gions: China for con­sumer elec­tron­ics; the UK for fash­ion and books; and the US for fash­ion and beauty prod­ucts. Aus­tralia Post and StarTrack’s joint ven­tures with Sai Cheng Lo­gis­tics In­ter­na­tional (SCLI) in China and Aramex Global So­lu­tions (AGS) in the UK and the US are de­signed to “help Aus­tralian con­sumers get ac­cess to goods from these three main lanes in a smooth and cost- efff­fec­tive man­ner”, he says. UK-based on­line fash­ion store ASOS and sports re­tailer Wig­gle are two pop­u­lar mer­chants that use the net­work.


Aus­tralia Post’s joint ven­tures are about fa­cil­i­tat­ing ship­ping to and from Aus­tralia, as well as con­nect­ing with each other. “We con­nect AGS with Sai Cheng, which en­ables Chi­nese con­sumers to get the same end-to- end ex­pe­ri­ence when they’re buy­ing from those places,” says Ben. It’s a ser­vice that com­petes with ma­jor in­ter­na­tional freight com­pa­nies but has the bonus of com­bin­ing the com­mer­cial so­lu­tion of the ini­tial over­seas ship­ment with lo­cal postal part­ner­ships.


“If you’re start­ing an eCom­merce com­pany in Aus­tralia to­day, be­gin with an ‘I’m born global’ mind­set,” says Ben. Aus­tralian-made vi­ta­mins, beauty prod­ucts and milk pow­ders have led the way and he be­lieves the big wave of global eCom­merce is yet to come. “Many eCom­merce re­tail­ers in Aus­tralia still don’t ship to the world. We haven’t yet max­imised the op­por­tu­ni­ties over­seas but we are sup­port­ing busi­nesses to help them do ex­actly that.”

Ben Franzi, Gen­eral Man­ager, eCom­merce and In­ter­na­tional at Aus­tralia Post, shares some in­sights about eCom­merce growth mar­kets for Aus­tralian ex­porters and how mer­chants can ex­pand their busi­ness to take ad­van­tage of global mar­kets.

Busi­ness Events Syd­ney CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith

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