It’s a horrible feeling for our tourism partners, canceling bookings and turning away customers, especially when future cashflow is so uncertain. Blake Ng and the Rezdy Team have some recommendations and a template to help turn cancellations into future bookings.
Following the 24-hour news cycle these days, is not only depressing, but it can also be a challenge to think of anything other than the immediate response to travel restrictions, self-quarantine and health recommendations; developments which are literally unfolding by the hour.
Industry estimates that the Australian tourism industry is losing $3 billion dollars for every month that this continues, impacting over 130,000 jobs. The Small Business Council of Australia estimates that over the next few months 500,000 people will lose their jobs.
Airlines flying into and within Australia have cut capacity (Qantas announcement), Cruise ships are banned from docking in Australia for 30 days, Travel restrictions are now in place for any non-Australian residents or citizens. More info here
“WITH YESTERDAY’S ANNOUNCEMENT OF ISOLATION MEASURES FOR ALL NEW ARRIVALS TO AUSTRALIA, OUR INBOUND TOURISM INDUSTRY HAS EFFECTIVELY BEEN SHUT DOWN”
Peter Shelley, Australian Tourism Export Council
We are currently in the eye of the storm, and as we draft this article from Asia Advisory’s offices in Chinatown it certainly feels like an appropriate analogy. It’s quiet without tourists. Restaurants along Dixon Street are discounting to attract customers. Busses and trains have empty seats, and those few who are still commuting sit vacantly, head buried in their phones. Universities and colleges in the capital cities are going on breaks and some retailers have shut their doors for the next 2 weeks.
January visitor data is available and now, with a pause on Tourism, or business more generally, the challenge is two-fold. First, it’s difficult to understand what current tourism demand actually looks like. Secondly, it’s difficult to plan business continuity when our data is not reactive enough to pick up a recovery.
The research on visitor arrivals and spending behaviour has a 2 month lag for monthly reports and a 6 month lag for annualised quarterly data
In order to address these short term questions, we’ve collated a number of news and industry reports to reference five leading indicators designed to help understand what is happening across our Tourism industry.
1. Tourism Company Financials
Australia’s largest tourism companies, like Qantas, Virgin, Crown and Sealink are also amongst the industry’s largest employers. When these companies start making staff redundant, and they will, the effects flow through our economy. The airlines and cruise companies are the canaries in the mine as changes in inbound tourism capacity then flow through to other sectors; for example international education, transport, accommodation, retail, food and beverage and the tourism operators.
Altman-Z Sores to measure solvency
We’ve used the Altman-Z Score system to evaluate the financial stability of these companies and to assess the chance they will default without outside assistance. The Altman Z-score is based on five key financial ratios that have been derived from published annual reports. This process assesses profitability, leverage, liquidity, solvency, and share prices to estimate the likelihood of the business becoming insolvent without external or government assistance.
A score of less than 1.80 shows the company is in financial distress and has a high change of insolvency without outside assistance. Between 1.8-2.99 is the Grey zone which should be monitored regularly. A score of greater than 2.99 indicates the company’s financials are sustainable.
Qantas has lost 69% of its market capitalisation since January. The group has suspended up to 90% of their international capacity and 60% of their domestic capacity. This is still critical that travel in Australia doesn’t get further down graded as domestic travel proportionally represents 68% of Qantas group revenue. The group has just announced they will stand down two-thirds of their 30,000 workforce from the end of March until at least the end of May.
Source: FY19 Annual Report
Qantas has a huge debt to shareholder equity ratio (325x) which is reflective of the fall in the share price. Additionally, the business scores a 1.23 on the Alt-Z score showing that it has a dangerously high chance of becoming insolvent without urgent outside financial assistance.
Virgin Australia Holdings (AU:VAH)
Virgin has lost 61% of its market capitalisation since January. The group has suspended all international flight capacity from 30th March until 14th June. Domestic capacity has also been halved until 14th June and will be critical for this year as it makes up approximately 67% of group revenue. Virgin is yet to announce redundancies at the time of writing but we’re likely to see something before the end of the week.
Source: FY19 Annual Report
Virgin has an unsustainable debt to shareholder equity ratio (12,450x) which is reflective of the decimation of its share price. Additionally the business scores a 0.67 on the Alt-Z score showing that it has a dangerously high chance of becoming insolvent without urgent outside financial assistance.
SeaLink Travel Group (AU:SLK)
Sealink lost 43% of its market capitalisation since January, however, the group has diversified its portfolio of tourism and bus/tram transport products, reducing tourism to 15% of its revenue with the recently completed acquisition of Transit Systems group.
Source: Annual Report FY19
Sealink has significantly increased its assets with the Transit Systems Group acquisition, but the market capitalisation has been severely punishing on the debt to equity ratio. The Alt-Z score of 1.86 places the business in the grey zone, it is likely that the business will need a captial raising effort or to seek alternative sources of funding within the next 12 months.
Flight Centre Travel Group (AU:FLT)
Flight Centre has lost 78% of its market capitalisation since January. The group is undergoing an urgent business review to identify cost and savings initiatives. It has flagged that job losses will be inevitable but the company is in discussions with the Federal Government for industry assistance packages.
Source: Annual Report FY19
Referencing the FY19 Annual report, Flight Centre’s financials are robust. The company has an Alt-Z score of 8.39 which indicates strong financial health. The challenge will be whether the business can sustain the disproportionally large workforce of 14,346 (as at June 30 2019) during a period when International and Domestic travel has been put on pause, whilst also competing with a blooming number of relatively more nimble international and domestic online travel agents. Further announcements are likely next week.
Crown Resorts Ltd (AU:CWN)
Crown Resorts is an interesting one to watch, particularly with its exposure in Maccau and disproportionate client weighting of Chinese inbound tourists. The company has lost 52% of its market capitalisation since January.
Source: Annual Report FY19
From the FY19 Financial report, Crown has been sitting well but the Alt-Z score is at the higher end of the grey zone indicating some caution required. The FY20 first-half results need further analysis as earnings are down across the group with a significant hit from VIP Revenue down 34% this quarter. The next results will be reported in August.
2. Inbound routes and flight tracking
Airline traffic both internationally and within Australia has been falling over the past 6 weeks. Large reductions in capacity with aircraft taken out of service is an immediate reaction to meet demand and to manage overheads. Flight Radar gives a good indication of global flight traffic over the past 90 days and provides live monitoring of daily fluctuations. There’s been a 20% reduction in flight traffic around the world in the last week.
Quantifying the number of inbound flights into Australia is a more manual process but it’s worth a look at Andy Jiang’s research as he’s producing monthly updates.
3. Hotel Occupancy and average room rates
STR Research is the main provider of Australian Hotel Occupancy and average room rates. They report monthly and data is available through Tourism Research Australia and the Australian Accommodation Monitor. If you are an accommodation provider, you can subscribe to the free hotel research program and benchmark your property to competitors
The data insights, news, and whitepapers provide a free reference which is worth checking regularly. There are also a number of Webinars specific to COVID-19 available for download.
According to Siteminder forward bookings for hotel rooms in Australia are getting shorter with an average booking of 40 days in advance. This is likely to reduce further as international visitors re-evaluate their travel plans for 2020. Australian’s travelling domestically may help pick up some of the short term capacity and rate discounting is already prevalent for Easter Holidays online looking at Expedia.com, Australia’s largest online travel agent.
4. Tourism Attractions, Events & Experiences
A number of tourist attractions across Australia will be closed for the remainder of March, possibly longer. The government has upgraded advice against non-essential events now restricting gatherings of more than 100 people. The Sydney Opera House has cancelled live performances but tours and food & beverage outlets are still open. The Arts Centre of Melbourne has closed temporarily. The National Gallery of Victoria is also closed until 13th April.
A number of Sports, Events and music festivals have been cancelled as of 18th March:
The Melbourne Formula One GP, Sydney Royal Easter Show, Sydney Vivid Festival, The One Day International Cricket Series, The AFL and WAFL will be reduced to 18 games and possibility of playing without spectators. The NRL games will also be played without spectators for a TV audience, Super Rugby has decided the same. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival has been cancelled. Melbourne Food & Wine Festival and Adelaide’s Tasting Australia festivals will be postponed until later in the year. Numerous Music festivals have also been cancelled including Bluesfest, Splendor in the grass, Groove in the moo and others. More updates can be monitored regularly via ABC News
5. NAB Monthly Business Survey
National Australia Bank is Australia’s largest lender for small to medium enterprises and they have a wealth of insight and analysis on what is happening on the front line. NAB’s monthly reports are one of the best indicators of what is happening in the retail and food and beverage industries and these reports give insight into business confidence and household investment decisions. Have a look at the latest economic summary and latest March survey. Supermarkets have shown a 0.6% month on month increase in retail sales in February, possibly due to panic buying and stockpiling.
Whilst the Tourism and Travel industry is effectively placed on pause for the moment, now is a good time to focus on reviewing products, updating marketing collaterals, training staff and planning for low-cost marketing initiatives such as your website, social media, and media hosting programs.
For more insights and analysis please follow our social channels.
These are challenging times… So we’re sharing some of our ideas to help you prepare and re-grow your business quickly!
An interview with Asia Advisory Founder & CEO, Adam O’Neill and Haymarket HQ General Manager, Duco van Breemen on how to scale your tourism business rapidly. Free cheat: Strategic famil setups… Watch below for details!
Please subscribe to our Youtube channel, and follow our Social channels for more inspiration:
Did you know that travellers from Asia spend 1.6x more than travellers from elsewhere?!
An interview with Asia Advisory Founder & CEO, Adam O’Neill and Haymarket HQ General Manager, Duco van Breemen on three reasons to target Asian travellers. When your business needs more customers, try our tips and find out how to get more tourists from Asia.
Please subscribe to our Youtube channel, and follow our Social channels for more inspiration:
In this episode Asia Advisory Founder & CEO, Adam O’Neill and Haymarket HQ General Manager, Duco van Breemen are back to offer three tips (plus a BONUS) that you can try working on to help your business STAND OUT!!!
We understand the feeling of finding yourself scrambling day to day, working for your business rather than on your business. So to help out, we’ve included a BONUS on how you can access government funding!
Payments + BONUS (accessing government funding)
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The first episode in our new Tourism Series. We created this series to help improve Australian’s awareness of the role that tourism plays in our economy.
Australia is one of the world’s most successful examples of a multicultural nation, with many of Australia’s students, residents and citizens first visiting this wonderful country as tourists. We all have a role to play as ambassadors for Australia and hope this series will improve awareness of the role of our tourism industry.
An interview with Asia Advisory Founder & CEO, Adam O’Neill and Haymarket HQ General Manager, Duco van Breeman on the Top 3 reasons why Tourism is so important to the Australian economy.
Please subscribe to our Youtube channel, and follow our social media channels for more inspiration:
Coming to the end of our first year of business and man has it been a roller coaster! Building a base of clients, market testing new products and figuring out what services clients are willing to pay for. Starting a business or founding a startup as Elon Musk says is like “chewing on glass staring into the abyss”. Having said that Content Marketing has been the big turning point for us, creating our own original thinking, amplifying industry research and sharing this across social platforms. If you’re thinking about your own business idea or how to get more awareness for your passion project have a look, I hope you get something out of it…
By March 2019, the number of international visitors in Australia is 8.5 million, 3% higher than last year. As for the purpose of trips, education and business-related trips recorded an increase (7% respectively). Top 5 markets are #China(1.3million), #NewZealand(1.3million), #India(343,000), #UK(673,000) and #US(750,000). #India continued as the strongest market, where visitors are mainly for #VFR purposes.
Tourism Australia MD & CEO John O’Sullivan has one key theme throughout his keynote and panel discussions: While China is important to inbound growth, we should not be ignoring other Asian markets.
The insightful video includes Asia Tourism Growth Outlook and the panel covering the topic named Facilitating the expansion- Are Australia and New Zealand equipped?
Key notes are: – Chinese visitors in Australia/NZ highly concentrated around Jan/Feb. How to drive year-round sustainability? – China is big, but we shouldn’t ignore other Asian markets. What are the other less well-known and exciting inbound developments?
Are you interested in the Asia Pacific tourism market? Asia Pacific recorded 324 million tourist arrivals in 2017, close to a quarter of the world’s total. The report from Horwath HTL provides insightful information about tourism trends in Asia Pacific areas.
– Top 5 popular destination cities are Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo and Seoul. – Top 3 original markets are China, South Korea and Taiwan. – 4 Key trends needing to be addressed: the dominance of China, driving domestic demand, self-expression and self-actualization for travellers and the importance of tech in the tourism industry.
Some companies think they are familiar enough with Chinese customers, however, this report from McKinsey & Company points that there are still some gaps between tourists from China and tourism companies.
The reports also give some useful insights to guide tourism companies. The keywords include experience, diverse travel, package tour, fine dining, digital transaction methods and more.
Online Travel Websites in China such as 携程旅行Ctrip offer a new breed of inspiration, research and booking options, bringing much more power to the independent traveller. This interview with Jane Sun, CEO of Ctrip explores some of the 60 products the company offers to over 300 million registered users. The company collects 50 terabytes of data per day and is heavily invested in Artificial Intelligence and Data Mining to understand their customers and match with their supply.
Following Confucius teaching, ‘It’s better to travel 10,000 miles than to read 10,000 books’, Ctrip started its journey.
Ms Sun also highlights that online travel agents are not just low cost, they’ve recently sold $200,000 custom-made itineraries and are seeing double-digit increases in Families creating their own Hotel and Car Hire packages.
Most of our clients are keen to get ready for the Chinese market because visitors from China are increasing dramatically in recent years. The case study from #Aurora Hotels Resorts Attractions shares some key points through their practical experience to engage with China include:
1. Continually review your position – talk to Chinese visitors and not just the ones who visit your property but also those that don’t. Find out how they made their travel decisions and why
2. Work with your industry and state and territory governments to promote your destination
3. Be realistic about the issues you face, particularly if you are in regional Australia, then work to remove them or find ways around them.
Since 2008, Adam O’Neill has been working to connect International and Asian businesses from LG Electronics, RedBull, Rolex, Unilever and Tourism Australia. Over the past 5 years, he has helped Australian tourism businesses address the rapid evolution of change in Asian markets. How can a tourism operator connect with Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indian and South East Asian tourists? Which travel platforms to work with? Is it better to focus on one market, or list with as many partners and countries as possible? Asia Advisory’s strategy offers insight and clarity for a challenging tourism industry problem.
Adam’s story is a great example of a Clarity or Strategy Story. They are one of the must-haves for you and and your business because they answer key questions.
Do you understand the changes happening around you?
Do you understand how this effects your clients and customers?
Do you have a coherent value add for them to resolve these challenges?
It only took Adam and I 90 minutes to get his strategy story straight. He was blown away by the power of our story frameworks.
Starting with how we launched Asia Advisory and the story of establishing people-to-people relationships in Korea. Returning to Australia in late 2013, our discovery that many Australian businesses struggle to build professional and people-to-people relationships with Asia.
We are less than 7 months old as a startup and based at Haymarket HQ in Sydney. We believe Tourism is one of the first frontiers in building understanding between Australia & Asia. Working with a handful of foundation clients to help Australian Tourism businesses to attract customers from across Asia.
A number of clients struggle with this, particularly those tourism experiences without a physical shop front.
Research from Tourism Research Australia shows that in 2018, 1.4m Tourists from China injected AUD$11.7Bn spend into the Australian economy, and this is forecast to triple to $34Bn by 2026. These investment figures could be significantly higher if we made it easier for tourists to make payments using their preferred platforms.
Register via the link below to see some of the best Australian companies preparing to take their business to China. Food & Drinks will be provided, we look forward to sharing our story and an opportunity to take our business to Shanghai.
We are only starting to see the beginning of Chinese Tourism in Australia. There are 50 million Chinese Tourists travelling internationally each year and only 10% of citizens currently have passports. This is forecast to double in the next year and Australia is well positioned as a destination to welcome them. However, there is still plenty of work to do in tailoring our products and services for Chinese travellers and these insights will hopefully help the industry evolve as new segments emerge.
Mr Xi and the Chinese leaders promised a ‘great rejuvenation’ but as the effects of the Trade War kick in it’s time to consider de-regulation and less state control rather than further tightening the grip.
Economic growth may fall below 6%, and if China plans to grow beyond its 13% share of world exports then welcoming foreign business and opening up trading relationships would present a positive venture.
Regardless of the US sanctions, China has an opportunity to outline a new path before the 1st March negotiation deadlines. The Economist offers some thoughts on the way forward…
Friends don’t let friends become Billionaires in China! According to the China Daily, a Billionaire dies in China approximately every 40 days. Which means that if you’re planning on becoming a Chinese Billionaire perhaps you could take note. What’s most disturbing is the way of these people’s demise; 15 were murdered, 17 committed suicide, 7 died from accidents and 19 died from illness. Oh, and yes, 14 were executed. So although this post will probably get us on the monitoring list, there is something more to ponder for your startup aspirations.
Tourism competition is heating up across Asia and it’s not just because of geopolitics. Japan had a record high of 31.19 million visitors in 2018 despite natural disasters and airport shutdowns. However, the level of annual growth is slowing, from 17.8% to 8.7% in 2018. Additionally, Chinese shoppers are becoming more frugal with their spending and have been overtaken by Australia as Japan’s top-spending visitors. Companies are now trying to attract foreigners through experience-based services vs buying luxury items. We are already seeing this trend emerging in Australia.
The next US-North Korea meeting is scheduled to take place in Vietnam. Not only has it piqued our interest but the Korea-Vietnam relationship is already flourishing. Perhaps due to its female population? Perhaps due to the deep financial and resource links between the two nations. “Ladies in Red make a Bull Case for Vietnam”
Chinese / Lunar New Year is the World’s Largest Annual Human Migration!!
Once every 12 months, the world’s largest human migration happens in China. Over the 40-day travel period of Chinese New Year, three billion trips are taken, as families reunite and celebrate. Now, the most strenuous of these trips are taken by the country’s 290 million migrant workers, for many of whom this is the one chance a year to go home and see parents and their left-behind children.
The transition we are experiencing moving from Globalisation and Free Markets to that of Slowbalisation and Nationalism is a worrying macro trend, however, not necessarily something that has to continue to take the course it may appear to be leaning towards.
The Honorable Kevin Rudd seeks to address the drivers and implications as the world’s two superpowers drift apart and offer practical steps to digest the evolution of China’s growth, as well as thoughts on preserving the peace that has underpinned the Asian economic growth miracle of the last half-century.
Australia China Business Council
Australia-China Young Professionals Initiative (ACYPI)
Australia-China Relations Institute, University of Technology Sydney
Australia China Innovation Growth Fund
Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade)
With an export economy which is double the size of its GDP, Vietnam was ranked No. 1 among seven emerging Asian countries as manufacturing destinations by Natixis, which looked at demographics, wages and electricity costs, rankings in doing business and logistics, and manufacturing as a share of total foreign direct investment.
A red-hot economy, business-friendly policies and a Communist party led by free-traders: that’s the elevator pitch Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc is delivering to global investors amid the U.S.-China trade war.
Many companies are moving their Asian manufacturing to Vietnam, including Samsung Electronics which accounts for one-fifth of the country’s exports. Vietnam’s profile is also benefiting from increased global attention with the next Trump & Kim meeting to be hosted in Ho Chi Min City.
The next US-North Korea meeting is scheduled to take place in Vietnam. Not only has it piqued our interest but the Korea-Vietnam relationship is already flourishing. Perhaps due to its female population? Perhaps due to the deep financial and resource links between the two nations.
A high female workforce-participation rate, a vestige of the war, helps the country exploit its demographic dividend. That’s good news for foreign money.
Women run some of Vietnam’s best-performing companies.
For every male early-stage entrepreneur there are 1.4 female ones.
Women also contribute to 40% of the nation’s wealth, nearly on par with China.
In Japan, there is a lot of negative emotion associated with leaving and changing jobs. Particularly the shame of quitting and telling your boss and family. There’s a Japanese startup called “Exit” which for a fee of JPY50,000 will resign on your behalf and tell your boss and family. So if you’re thinking about changing jobs, have a listen…
Future Focus 2019 from iProspect takes a look at Trust – something we don’t think about enough these days, however, 88% of marketers are making it their top priority. How to build trust in a digital economy, where experiences can outweigh brands? Some very timely research. Trust = Credibility + Relevance + Reliability Credibility in the age of doubt; Relevance in the age of noise; Reliability in the age of convenience. You can download the comprehensive white paper below #Trust #DigitalEconomy #Credibility #Relevance #Reliability #Marketing #DigitalMarketing
Australia is blessed with abundant conditions to become the world’s next renewable energy superpower (haha, pardon the pun). Our wide open spaces, enduring coastlines and consistent winds could help the country overcome not only our own power challenges but also become a test bed for Asia. Many Australians are already embracing distributed power generation with over 2 million homes with rooftop solar panels, one of the highest rates per capita in the world! Find out more from Mike Cannon-Brookes new venture Fair Dinkum Power h
There’s a flipside to a falling Australian Dollar and political uncertainty in the US, it helps make Australia look more appealing, according to CommSec economist Ryan Felsman. The fact that the AUD has fallen 10% in 2018 has really benefited our Tourism & Education sectors. It also hasn’t reduced Australian’s passion for travel with a 2018 increase of 6.1% for Aussie’s travelling overseas, they’re just doing it differently.
Happy New Year!! This time of year is usually filled with contemplative thoughts, reflecting on the year that has passed and setting objectives for the year ahead. It may also be a time for thinking about moving country, also associated with these objectives. Nikkei in partnership with Monocle have just published a list of the best places to live in Asia. It’s good to see such a strong winner in Tokyo and good representation for Australia with 3 cities in the top 10. #living#Asia #relocation#Tokyo #Melbourne #Sydney #Brisbane#
Earlier in the year, an article piqued my interest at the volume of government investment going into the Korean startup ecosystem. According to the FT, the Korean government had earmarked $9Bn of investment to help support growth for startups, particularly focussed on AI, Drone Technology and Fin-tech startups. The three-year fund under the management of the Ministry for SMEs and Startups may only be in its first year but the scope of its influence and progress so far is nothing short of phenomenal.
The Korean economy mostly operates under a trickle-down system, where the government invests heavily in new sectors and corporate initiatives, which then flows down to businesses in terms of tax breaks and government grants, which then flows on to create employment and future productivity improvements.
In 2015 the government invested approximately USD$11 million into 45 different startups, which expanded to USD$445 million into over 1,700+ startups in 2017
FT article “South Korea allocates first money from $9bn startup-up fund
During the past few weeks, we have been lucky enough to have spent considerable time in the market getting a first-hand look at the start-up scene in South Korea and wanted to share our observations.
Where does all that money go?
The first impression was the overwhelming abundance of incubators and accelerators, there’s more than 60 of them from what I can gather. There’s also a large war chest of government funding to be accessed provided a handful of criteria were met. Although the majority of these incubators are in Seoul, they stretch across the country including as far south as Busan. Most offer a similar service, rent-free office space, mentoring and guidance, access to shared services such as Venture Capital, IP Lawyers, Product pro-typing, Recording / Photography Studios and subsidised food & beverage outlets. The majority of my time was based at the Seoul Startup Hub funded by The Seoul Metropolitan Government. See our next Post about Startup Hubs in Korea
Support services for Foreign Startups to enter Korea
seoul global centre
Seoul Global Centre There is a specific visa for Startup Entrepreneurs called the OASIS visa. It allows people to get access based on points criteria. For example, you get points for having attended university in Korea or abroad, additional points for having established patents, or having completed a Korean business registration. The centre also provides training, mentorship and a startup college for foreigners which will also give you points towards your OASIS visa. If you chose to use their incubation space which is free of charge for up to one year you will also be given 7 OASIS points. Business coaching attracts 5 points.
The Seoul Global Centre is not just for startups but can assist foreigners in a number of areas including; Tax, Accounting, the establishment of a company, IP rights, Trade and Customs.
For further information on the Seoul Global Centre please contact: email@example.com
What to do next? If you are considering taking your startup to Korea I’d strongly recommend getting some time over in the market. Take a week to go and visit the spaces, talk to the locals, talk to other foreign startup founders, start to build your network. We’re even happy to make some introductions if you like. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
In terms of timing, there will be further Seoul Startup Hub market access programs with dates to be advised. The other milestone worth aiming for is the K-Startup Grand Challenge which opens up applications between May-June with successful participants joining August – November.
We hope this overview has been a helpful start on getting to know the Korean startup ecosystem, it’s a dynamic beast and there is still so much to learn and the only way to do that is to roll up the jeans and get immersed in it.
The team from Asia Advisory will be returning to Korea again in the early new year of 2019 so please follow our social media accounts, ask us questions, leave feedback and we plan to share more updates shortly….
Please take a few moments to have a look at our other articles on the Korean Startup Ecosystem along with more of the latest thinking on our website
This facility is conveniently located in the Gongdeok area, North East of the Han River and features large co-working spaces, dedicated company offices, seminar spaces, rooftop garden, food & beverage test kitchens, 3D printing and prototyping facilities, numerous business support services, an on-site Cafe, 7-Eleven, video/podcast recording studio, idea generation areas and a massive stainless steel slippery slide. The office areas were undergoing re-development but from what I saw during business hours the co-working spaces on the ground floor we mostly full. An excellent space for businesses regardless of the stage of their development.
pangyo TECHNO VALLEY, korea’s answer to silicon valley
Features: Large Facilities, Close proximity to Korean Tech companies; Ahn Labs, Cha Group, Kakao, Daum, Nexon, Naver, Paymentwall, SK Chemical, SK Planet, Yura Corporation. Financial Support, Incubation, Korea Startup Grand Challenge, Prize Money
The first week saw a field trip to Pangyo, Korea’s answer to Silicon Valley. This area is particularly well known for Korean Technology companies and is a joint private/public funded area which offers some significant incentives to startups. One of the most prominent being the
K-Startup Grand Challenge. Every year they offer a pitch and support competition for 80 startups from around the world. The incentives include 3 ½ month accelerator program, free office space, mentoring, business support services and networking events. There is also a financial aid component to help cover your living costs in Korea. Based on a “Demo Day” competition later in the year there is also a $22,727 financial contribution for the top 40 companies and an additional 6 months of free office space and additional support from the Korean government to help get your business established in Korea.
All that is good and well but it’s the prizes from the Demo-Day that really grab the headlines, based on the 80 international startups accepted into the program after the first incubation period they are asked to pitch to investors for a Demo-Day. First prize is $100,000, second prize $40,000, third prize $20,000 and fourth prize $6,000 – all highly valued sums for businesses in startup mode.
T.I.P.S stands for Technology Incubator Program for Startups and is a Public/Private funded program in the Gangnam region of Seoul. There are 4 offices operating over 20 floors of space and support services. Although the entry criteria are limited to a specific range of high-growth tech startups the financial contributions are very significant and in some instances up to nine times the initial venture capital input. One of the key points of difference of this space is that up to 10% of the funding is provided by the Korean government R&D fund. Yes, investment is exchanged for equity but the volume of funding can be significant, up to the equivalent of USD$500,000 from the Korean government and USD$100,000 from the TIPS partners. In some cases the investment received can be matched by the Korean government between 1:1, 1:3, 1:5 and up to 1:9 times, so if your business receives $100,000 from Venture Capital you could receive up to $900,000 from the Korean Government. One of the conditions of program entry is that the business has at least one Korean co-founder, this is to help ensure the future success given the significant level of investment provided.
As the name suggests this is a corporate sponsored incubator funded by Naver Corp. This incubator offers space and support networks and a public event space for up to 150 people. The focus is very tight towards high growth tech-based companies; primarily in AR/VR, Mobility and Heath-Tech. Being a dominant Search engine, Naver Corp are obviously keen to look for businesses that can fit into their existing Tech ecosystem. Again the criteria require a Korean co-founder. It’s worth noting that the website and application forms are all in Korean only.
No questions about what this place is but worth adding to you’re next visit to Busan. It’s primarily an event space but also offers a number of business support facilities. Funded by the various divisions of the Busan Government it’s one of the largest destinations in Busan for startup seminars, meeting spaces and collaboration. The Startup Cafe also features a photography studio, private offices and breakout rooms.
CENTAP is a startup accelerator based in Busan, the 2nd largest city outside of the Seoul area and based right down the bottom of the Korean peninsula. It may seem a long way away but Busan is famous for Haeundae beach and the local waterways give the place a unique and more relaxed feel. Kind of like the Korean equivalent of Australia’s Gold Coast. CENTAP is part of the TIPS program and provides support as mentioned above. However, they also provide some support and shared office space for non-tech startups. The facilities have ten investment and support companies and twenty five startup tenants. Since opening they have held over 759 events. One of the features of this centre is their advanced 3D printing capability and prototyping centre. The area provides commercial-grade 3D mapping and printing facilities to help you get up and running. CENTAP also features a large rooftop entertaining / breakout area and a large lecture hall. Again worth noting that the website is only available in Korean.
If you are considering taking your startup to Korea I’d strongly recommend getting some time over in the market. Take a week to go and visit the spaces, talk to the locals, talk to other foreign startup founders, start to build your network. We’re even happy to make some introductions if you like. Please email email@example.com for more information.
In terms of timing, there will be further Seoul Startup Hub market access programs with dates to be advised. The other milestone worth aiming for is the K-Startup Grand Challenge which opens up applications between May-June with successful participants joining August – November.
Hopefully this article has been helpful. Please take a few moments to have a look at our other articles on the Korean Startup Ecosystem
A deep look into the rise of China, touching on cultural, political and economic insights into what has led the nation to become what it is today. According to Yuen Yuen Ang, a political scientist at the University of Michigan, China has created a unique hybrid, an autocracy with democratic characteristics.
Day One of the International Induction program at Seoul Startup Hub. The operation is just over 18 months old but is demonstration how serious the Seoul Metropolitan Government is about investing in Startups and the supporting infrastructure. The building is fitted out with a TV/Online recording studio, commercial grade 3D Printing facility and numerous Idea generation and relaxation spaces. Feeling inspired !! #inspiration#startups#incubators
There is a risk of just talking about China all the time but this infographic has got us standing up, doing high fives. A visual representation showing the power shift back to the east. A weighted chart of GDP vs. Latitude & Longitude.
Some mind blowing insights as well:
1. The Global centre of economic gravity is now in Siberia given China’s meteoric 900% GDP growth per person since the 1990s.
2. China has bought more than 740 million of its residents out of poverty since 1990.
3. Since the financial crisis in 2008, China has accounted for 45% of the growth in world GDP.
The Wonder from Down Under: Australia has a lot to be proud of, according to The Economist it may be the most successful rich economy in the world.
Beyond the nations blessing of Iron Ore and Natural Gas, it also enjoys close proximity to China. Metaphorically and physically, the country owes one-third of it’s GDP to China.
However, forward thinking policy is what has helped this country achieve its stature. 29% of Australians are born overseas and nearly half have an overseas born parent.
Following the last recession in 1991, some 27 years ago, the government also reformed the health care and pension system requiring the middle classes to pay for a third of their healthcare needs and compulsory superannuation payments from annual incomes. We hope you enjoy the Special Report on Australia in this weeks Economist.
With the 4th Industrial revolution, remote and mobile-based teams from multiple countries are fast becoming the norm. This demonstrates that we may need to learn and develop new ‘soft’ skills such as establishing interpersonal relationships and working with people from other cultures.
According to a report from the World Economic Forum “The era of front-loading skills for a single qualification that defines a career path at the start of a working life is over. Training systems will need to be flexible, allowing workers to continue learning throughout their careers” focussing on skills such as creativity, problem solving and critical thinking.
This image is more than just a gesture…, it’s about building trust between the two Koreas. Some interesting insights to note:
1. The Pyongyang Agreement is a step towards leading the two Koreas to peace and Mr Kim has agreed to allow International specialists to witness the dismantling of their ballistic missile capabilities (Tongchang-ri facility)
2. In return, South Korea has agreed to stop cross-border propaganda and focus on economic reforms, which is why President Moon was accompanied by CEO’s of Samsung and Hyundai at the last meeting
3. Professor John Delury from Yonsei University wrote in the New York Times that “we have all grown so accustomed to thinking about North Korea in terms of threat, that it takes some unthinking to see the possibilities”.
Korea has improved two places in the @WorldEconomicForum International Competitiveness report to 15th in the world, one place behind Australia. The country is a world leader on the Internet of Connected Things @ICT and Macro Economic Stability. However, the country is still held back by lack of development in product market due to lack of domestic competition and labour market competition due to inflexibility and the strong power held by Chaebol (Family Owned/Controlled) Companies.
International education is now a $32 billion export industry for Australia, it’s our third largest export industry and our single largest services export industry.
There is a clear and urgent need for Australians and Australian Universities to continue fostering the relationship, not only with China but with our largest source markets.
The top five of which are all notably in the Asia Pacific Region; China, India, Malaysia, Nepal and Vietnam.
This is a world-class speech given by UQ Chancellor Mr Peter Varghese AO on where we should ponder and share the agenda. “The answer for universities, as for the nation, is not to turn away from China but to engage with China, to manage the risks and always to have a clear-eyed view of the bigger picture.”
Startups today are no longer constrained by geographical boundaries. You can launch a product or service literally anywhere in the world and across multiple international markets simultaneously. However, there are a few massive challenges holding us back:
1. Adopt a Global Mindset. Do your homework on what success looks like for your customers and local business partners, you’ll be surprised at how wrong your initial assumptions are.
2. Spent Time in Market. This is not only free research but even just a few days will give you a really strong sense of conviction of whether this market is right for you or not, where the opportunities are and how you can maximise them.
3. Build a local team. This is probably the most critical one. Spend time sharing your vision and build a local team. Although not easy it’s the fastest way to apply local knowledge and unlock expertise. GOJEK LTD is a great case study of a ride-sharing service from South East Asia, ready to take on the world
The Peninsular is 700 miles long and 150 miles wide it has 5,000 miles of coastline. A place where man and nature have been living in harmony for centuries. Long before the modern conflict that divided the nation, over 60 million years ago, tectonic plates collided to form the jagged peaks on the Eastern region. In the central region are lush temperate forests, further south these give way to fertile wetlands. Where the land finally meets the sea the shallow land creates endless mudflats teaming with life. In the far south, the islands including Jeju are home to a colony of rare Indo-Pacific Bottle nose dolphins. Find out more from the BBC Documentary.
South Korea’s BabyShark has surpassed 1.6 billion views on YouTube. They were recently featured on The Ellen Show and The Late Show with James Corden. The character and songs were created by a children’s education company from South Korea called SMARTSTUDY. What makes them so successful in the global market? They first produce content in English, then translate into over 11 languages including Korean, Japanese, Spanish, Russian, Mandarin, and Thai. A multi-lingual version takes on average of two months to produce and adapt in consideration of the language and local culture. For example, for the Chinese version, they work with studios in Shanghai and Beijing. Translations are done in real time and local adjustments are made for each version. Takeaway = Don’t just produce content in English put it on YouTube and hope it will fly in other markets. Take time to adapt, get the local translation done locally (not via Google translate) and acknowledge local cultural nuances.
A subject close to our hearts, Wagyu Beef. Japan’s Beef exports this year will surpass 20 Billion Yen, nearly double that of 2015. However, the industry is in crisis. Kyushu is one of Japan’s largest Wagyu breading hubs is suffering from an ageing population. Half of the regions farmers are 70 years or older and 80% of them don’t have a successor. The younger generation is turning their back on the countryside lifestyle. Australian producers are picking up the demand. Peter Gilmour, President of the Australian Waygu Association says that Australia has a number of advantages over Japan. “Land in Japan is more expensive, farms tend to be quite small and they have quite intensive staffing levels”. Around 24,000 tonnes of Wagyu was produced in Australia in 2016 with 85-90% going to the export market. That is about 10 times the Japanese Wagyu exports. “There is a big focus on achieving the similar eating quality of what Japanese farmers are capable of doing”…”That is where you see the excitement” Mr Gilmour said.
Masayoshi Son founded SoftBank Group in 1981 and comes from humble beginnings. Growing up on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu he was bullied as a child, because his family had come from Korea. Now he is one of the most respected leaders in the investment community having recently announced the $100 Billion Vision Fund. Estimated to be worth $18 Billion by Bloomberg, Masayoshi has backed some of the biggest names in Tech including Uber, Didi Chuxing, WeWork, Slack and Grab. The secret to his investment style is gun-senryaku, a Japanese expression that describes the way a flock of birds flies together. His hope, he says, is that portfolio companies will help one another and head off copycats. In Southeast Asia, for instance, SoftBank has encouraged Grab to form joint ventures with a handful of portfolio companies to help those startups break into the region. #startups#investments#venturecapital#privateequity
Why are China’s richest are flocking to Australia? Here’s a secret, it’s not for the Kangaroos and Koalas. The ultra-wealthy are leaving a trail of dollars across Australia boosting sectors from property and education to luxury goods. But not everyone is happy about it. Just last month Beijing’s Ministry of Commerce accused Canberra of interfering with “normal business activities” after it banned Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies involvement in Australia’s 5G network due to unspecified National security concerns…
Chinese Travellers are changing the world, but perhaps at the same time, they are also changing China? Not only in regards to tourism but often beginning a new chapter in life. Whether that is seeking further employment or Western university education. The majority of Chinese students return home at the end of their studies, perhaps bringing some of this Western thinking with them. Who knows the next Chinese President could be packing their bags right now?
Great talk on China challenges/opportunity from Daniel Street, Senior Strategist for the private-sector arm of the World Bank Group, International Finance Corporation (IFC). Three secrets to China’s success in regaining a world leadership position by 2030
1. A Strong Banking Sector: Based on the number of banks in China and the government fiscal measures in place if there were a financial crisis it would likely be contained within Chinese borders
2. A Strong Labour Force: China did not buy 850 million people out of poverty, going through rapid urbanisation and they are investing in their future. The demographic dividend is yet to come to fruition with over 8 million University graduates each year growing to 10 million + in the next few years. China also invests heavily in R&D. 5 years ago R&D accounted for 1.5% of GDP, this has grown to approx 3% of GDP today.
3. A Strong Emerging Middle Class: China had approx 55 million people in the middle class in 1995. This is forecast to grow to 1 Billion or approx 70% of the total population by 2030.