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Australians still looking abroad

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Despite international market volatility, Australian companies are still looking to expand overseas, according to a Regus report. More than half of Australian firms are intent on heading abroad in the next 12 months. The most popular destination for these businesses is South East Asia, with Singapore, The Philipines, Malaysia and Indonesia topping the list, followed by East Asia and China, Japan and Mongolia. Asian markets are the main focus for Australian businesses, due to their proximity as well as their speed of growth. "SE Asia is a natural choice for many Australian businesses looking to expand operations and break into new and emerging markets," said William Willems, Regus Regional Vice President Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. "The lower export, travel and freight costs are also key selling points. This is in comparison to Northern and Western Europe, where only 27% of firms plan to expand." Despite world economic outlook, only three percent of businesses said they were looking to downgrade their international operations, suggesting that 2012 will be a growth year for Australian businesses. Some businesses were unsure about international growth, with 17 percent said that they were undecided as to whether they were going to expand or contract in 2012, with 42 percent of them saying that was due to focus on Australian growth. Willems suggests caution before heading overseas. "The strong intention of many Australian firms to expand in 2012 is an exciting trend. However, some firms may underestimate the costs and challenges of operating in a different market. It takes time to explore the economic, political and legal landscape of a new country, including the terms of trade, tax and the payments system. Having a strong understanding of the business culture is also important, in order to find new partners and identify new customers and partners," he said.

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