Latest News

Australia’s Handling Of Covid-19 Crisis Opens Door For Israeli Businesses

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on google
Google+
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Australia’s rapid success in containing the coronavirus pandemic could lead to new opportunities for Israeli businesses, the Israeli financial daily Calcalist reported.

With fewer than 20 new coronavirus a day, and as of Friday only around 600 active cases and 101 deaths, Australia is already getting ready to remove many of the coronavirus restrictions, with social distancing measures to be lifted by July.

“Australia has led the world in the successful containment of COVID-19, which clearly means that travelers coming from Australia would pose a low risk to the rest of the world,” Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said on Friday in a statement, according to Calcalist.

This, in turn, makes it an ideal trade destination for Israeli businesses either looking to expand their business in Australia or looking to break into new markets.

“Australia is in the midst of its exit strategy, and unlike in other places, when there is a crisis or downturn they believe the way to move forward is through adaptability and innovation,” Shai Zarivatch, head of the Israeli Embassy in Australia’s commercial and investment arm, the Israel Trade Commission in Australia, told Calcalist.

“The Australians are telling me that the faster they move and the faster they adopt new tech, the quicker they will get out of this situation.”

Zarivatch explained to the financial daily that Australia dealt with the crisis differently than other countries.

“The Australians are not familiar with a state of national crisis. Culture wise it is something Australians are not familiar with. They have never had anything like this in their country’s history. It is a mentality of complacency and reality took time to sink in,” he said.

Despite this, the government worked fast to deal with the pandemic’s economic effects by announcing a record $80 billion plan to rescue jobs by subsidizing wages, specifically by paying out around $980 (A$1,500) every two weeks.

While this did take the total fiscal and monetary stimulus to A$320b. (or around $209b.), Zaravitch explained that “All in all this seems like a remarkable success.

“A lot of people lost their jobs and there is a lot of uncertainty, but generally it is working very well. With everything that is non-essential closing, a lot of people were immediately in trouble. The country introduced a massive emergency stimulus package that is supposed to help companies avoid shutting down, by offering massive financial support to companies not laying off employees and extended benefits to those who lost their jobs. The aim is that instead of companies laying off millions of people and the state giving them unemployment benefits, the government stepped in and started to provide funds so that the companies can continue to pay the employees.”

There are currently over 200 Israeli companies operating in the Australian market, which face the same hardships and difficulties as any other company in Australia.

“But if they are locally registered and based they are entitled to all the benefits and stimulus support granted by the federal government of Australia,” Zaravitch added.

“There is a wave of Israeli companies that created and developed solutions that could be relevant to the time of the pandemic which they would like to introduce to the Australian market.

“We are seeing a surge of interest in the Australian market. From the Australian side, there is a strong appreciation of Israel and Israeli companies and a very strong appreciation of technology and innovation. That culture isn’t as developed as it is in Israel and other countries so there are always opportunities in the Australian market.”

While Israeli companies in Australia operate in a variety of fields such as retail, agriculture, fintech and cyber, the largest and most profitable industry in the Australian market is mining.

“The reason Australia is so wealthy and successful is because of the mining industry,” Zaravitch explained to Calcalist.

“There is no mining industry in Israel but all the Australian corporations are very open to innovation. They don’t have their own innovation, so they don’t have solutions for issues like water, energy, cybersecurity and AI. It is all new to them, but they are very open.”

And with this openness for innovation comes a variety of Israeli-made innovations made to adapt to the coronavirus crisis.

“There is a wave of Israeli companies that created and developed solutions that could be relevant to the time of the pandemic which they would like to introduce to the Australian market,” he said.

“We are seeing a surge of interest in the Australian market. From the Australian side, there is a strong appreciation of Israel and Israeli companies and a very strong appreciation of technology and innovation. That culture isn’t as developed as it is in Israel and other countries so there are always opportunities in the Australian market.”

Of course, the culture is different in other ways as well, and Zaravitch explained some of the unique problems Australia’s market poses to Israeli businesses.

“One needs to realize, and I say this many times when I speak to Israeli businesses, that in Australia you have to be present in the market. You cannot just send emails or hold Zoom calls. There are many challenges, but then again it is a promising and competitive market that is open and has appreciation to Israel and Israeli technologies.

“In a way, things move slowly and you have to create a level of trust with those you are doing business with. A lot of Israelis are sure that we have the best technology in the world and all they need to do is show their demo and the client will buy or invest. It doesn’t work that way. You have to invest time and energy and build trust.”

The Israel Trade Commission in Australia had planned to bring a Citibank Australia delegation to Israel for a fintech conference in June, but it was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. As a result, the commission decided to hold the conference online, Calcalist reported.

“The conference will be not just with Citibank officials, but also with their clients and members, including private equity funds and pension funds,” said Zarivatch. “It will include three Israel-focused panels, and we are expecting between 50-100 Australian companies to tune in. This will be an invite-only event and won’t be open to the general public.”

This is just one of the few ways the commission is working to bring Israel into the Australian market.

“We provide individual support to every company that approaches us [to help enter the Australian market] and we are working with them, guiding, navigating, opening doors and then following up,” he explained to Calcalist.

“We also create value for industries that are relevant to the Australian market, sectors in which Israel has a competitive advantage like agriculture technologies, cybersecurity, AI, water technologies, drones and fintech. These are all very relevant and very interesting to the Australian market.

“We essentially serve as a bridge. When I start to explain who we are and what we do I say we are a business development office and that we provide business development services in different shapes and forms to Israeli companies, businesses, entrepreneurs and investors who want to operate and be successful in the Australian market,” Zarivatch added.

“We are here for you guys. We are happy to find information and identify potential partners, connect with them, introduce and open the door and work with you, hopefully until a deal is done.”

By Aaron Reich

Get in Touch

Stay Connected

Join the newsletter or follow our socials to stay up to date with our latest news and events.

Copyright © 2020 Zionism Victoria.