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Understanding Asia

by Katrina Kalleske

Understanding Asian business practice is important for AustraliaThe Asian region offers a wealth of important business partners for Australia, so it is logical that UniSA hosts a centre that is dedicated to better understanding our neighbours’ business practices.

The UniSA Centre for Asian Business, which began operating at the beginning of this year, has so far formed six dedicated research groups, each focusing on a different aspect of business in Asia. The centre incorporates 30 existing university staff members whose research fits into these six specialised areas.

Already there are 17 new research projects underway, and the centre’s interim Director, Professor John Benson, says he is extremely happy with the progress that has been made.

“People talk about the 21st century being all about Asia, so we should focus on it,” Professor Benson says. “It is within our region after all.

“We need to understand Asia – it has different ways of looking at the world. And because it’s where the markets are, we need to do business with Asia to maintain our quality of life.”

Recent growth figures for Asia have been quite remarkable. China and Vietnam in particular have recorded high GDP growth and low unemployment rates for the past 10 years, so this makes them important business partners.

Prof Benson says the point of difference between UniSA’s Centre for Asian Business and other Asia-focused research groups within Australia is that this centre is dedicated to producing solid research solely concerning Asian business, and making this valuable research accessible to the Australian business community.

“We will be looking to help Australian companies who want to do business in Asia, as well as Asian companies who want to do business here,” he says. “We also want the centre to be collaborative, and talk to organisations like the India-Australia Association with the possibility of forming a partnership with them.”

Already the centre has partnered three International universities who are to be involved in presenting workshops concerning Asian business from in Australia and internationally. In coming months the centre looks to build on its current project base, and appoint a dedicated director.

“We are looking to undertake a lot of new work, but we also have a number of existing projects with a focus on Asia which will add to our knowledge base,” Prof Benson says.