Transcript: Central European market opportunities

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Steve Rank:

The Central European market is a market of 120 million people that is economically significant but it’s also well connected to the European economy of 500 million people.

Countries such as Poland and Czech Republic have gone through an amazing transformation over the last 25 years, from a communist style planned economy through to the market based economies of today. And to illustrate this point, the Czech Republic for instance, its economy is now five times greater in normal terms than it was in 1989 and Poland, like Australia, did not suffer during the GFC and as a consequence its economy is more than 20 per cent larger than it was at the start of the GFC.

We’re expecting positive economic growth this year of around three per cent and in the near term years that’s going to be three per cent plus.

The trends which underpin the Central European market are the strong economic growth and the highly internationalised and export nature of its industries. These factors, combined with the trend and transition and modernisation of industry, of public institutions and infrastructure is driving opportunities in the marketplace.

The first areas where the economies are transitioning and organisations are transitioning and modernising and that is in health and aged care, it’s in resources and it’s around research and development.

The second key area is where the economies are well connected and the industries are well connected to global supply chains or the European supply chains, and that is sectors such as aviation and energy. It’s a multi-layered complex issue which is requiring significant investment around identifying new sources of energy supply in the local market, as well as a renewal of infrastructure. This is electricity grid, gas grid infrastructure, as well as new generation plants.

The other trend to watch is personal wealth. Personal wealth is now at about 70 per cent of what’s experienced in Western Europe and this transition to upper middle class status is opening up opportunities for luxury products and more sophisticated products into the marketplace.

What this means for Australian companies is that the organisations in Central Europe are looking for sophisticated solutions to help them be more competitive in the global environment. This is the area of greatest opportunity for Australian firms.

The first thing you can do is contact us. Our teams have excellent networks amongst government, industry associations and business. These are connections which can help you establish your business in Central Europe.

If you would like to track developments in what’s happening with the economies in Central Europe, particularly Poland, Czech Republic and Slovak Republic, you can follow our Twitter feed @AustradeWarsaw or follow us at Australian Business in Central Europe in our Linked In group where there’s lots of valuable information that will keep you up-to-date with what’s happening in the marketplace.