For a country that has a deep and prosperous mining heritage, Australia was shocked by the latest report from its Resources Minister Martin Ferguson: the resource boom, one of the largest engines in Australia's economy, was over. The statement came following BHP Billiton's announcement that there has been a 35% dip in profits and postponed plans to expand the nation's Olympic Dam mine. There have also been considerable concerns in the country that the weak global economy might also decrease the demand for coal, metal ores, and other commodities. For foreign investors and Australian economists alike, a slowdown in the prosperous mining sector will surely leave a noticeable dent in Australia's economic growth.
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What happens when you mix a close proximity to fast growing nations and an abundant supply of natural resources? An impressive economic boom, but a fear of being highly dependent on a few key nations. Australia is currently enjoying not only a very lucrative demand for its natural resources from China and India, but is also becoming a tourism hotspot for the people of China.
The auto manufacturing industry in Australia has seen brighter days. The once supreme car industry used to flourish with seven major auto manufacturers. There are now only three (Ford, Toyota, and General Motors Holden), and their future in the nation is uncertain. The industry is propped up by government support and in need of a revival. Is the industry holding onto false hopes of prosperity? Or is it going to show its typical resilience and bounce back from another punishing year?
Widespread use of the Internet has led to a decline in the prevalence of traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, and this disparity will continue to shift as more people worldwide are provided with Internet access. Buying online is simply more convenient, and most of the time more affordable than traveling to a physical location and purchasing a good or service. Even more convenient, however, is the ability to conduct business and make purchases while on-the-go. With an increasing number of smartphones sprouting up all over the world, making purchases has never been easier. Mobile commerce is a trend we can expect to see entire business strategies built around.
Generally, when something is put to a vote, the most popular vote wins. This is not the case for the Kraft Foods Australia product, Cheesybite. If you don’t know what Cheesybite is, it is a jar of caramel-brown, salty, gooey yeast paste (also known as Vegemite, an immensely popular Austrailian spread), that is mixed with cream cheese. Sounds appetizing, huh? Well to many Australians, it is. In a recent New York Times article, Bill Granger, a well known Sydney chef, said that Vegemite is “One of the only foods that is unique to Australia, and people see it as being quintessentially Australian.”
Now-a-days, Starbucks isn’t the only place you can go to grab a cup of joe. McDonald’s McCafés can now be found all over the globe offering a multitude of delicious, caffeinated beverages. This coffee chain was created in Melbourne, Australia in 1993. Ten years later, in 2003, it grew to be the largest coffee shop brand not only in Australia, but in New Zealand too!
The rising stock of Twitter and Facebook as valuable business assets is a surprise to nobody, but just how big of a role they play may be overlooked. Australia, which is currently going through a tourism slump due to the global economic downturn and the swine flu epidemic, is getting a bit of help from social networking giants Twitter and Facebook.
The managing director of Tourism Australia, Geoff Buckley, asserts that Twitter and Facebook are helping to pull the Australian tourism industry through the recession. “Tourism Australia’s activities on Twitter and Facebook are connecting people around the world who have visited Australia and getting them to share their experiences with a community of travelers who are equally passionate about our country.”