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Industry shift into change

LINK: HunterNet boss Tony Cade and vice-president of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Tai’an branch, Zhang Bin. ONLY four percent of companies surveyed by peak manufacturing co-operative HunterNet are exporting but a third of them hope to switch industries within five years and anotherhalf are eyeing Asian markets.

Chief executive officer Tony Cade said the “relatively low” export result in the organisation’sannual member survey was countered by the fact 51 per cent of the companiessay they want to take part in the joint HunterNet/Austrade Asian Business Engagement program.

The initiative is designed toharness commercial opportunities in Asia, where HunterNet is actively targeting new business windows. Itrecentlysignedamemorandum of understanding with officials from the Chinese city of Tai’an, in Shandong province, that it says will boost the Hunter’s international trade activity.

Thirty seven of HunterNet’s 200 members completedthe survey, this year compiled in conjunction with University of Newcastle researchers,and another32 responded to key components of its expandedformat.

Twenty nine per cent of those surveyed were involved in resources and energy, the same figure again in infrastructure and asset management, while 17 per cent were in other industries.

Sixty percent of firms surveyed said they wantedto nominate candidates for HunterNet’s future leaders program, launched in 2015.

The program teamsthe region’s bestyoung business mindswith veteran industry mentors, with the inaugural winning team pitchinga”world-class” innovation hubat Wickham.

Thirty twoper cent of firmssurveyedenvisaged their organisation shifting to anotherindustry in the next five years, a result Mr Cade said was encouraging given market diversification“has never been so important”.

The results follow RDA Hunter’s push to boost trade with the European Union to capture a bigger slice of an $80 billion market.

Its“smart specialisation” strategyidentifies the region’s competitive advantages infood and agribusiness;mining equipment;technology,medical technologies and pharmaceuticals;oil, gas and energy;advanced manufacturing, defence; and creative industries.

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