Breaks do not come by 'lady luck' alone

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 October, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 October, 1998, 12:00am

Australia has been known as the 'lucky country'. But capturing a slice of local markets also requires the attribute of a 'clever country' and the Business Innovation Award is in recognition for those who have made a 'significant business breakthrough' over the past year.

As such, the judges will face a conundrum selecting the winner from this year's finalists, who have all made special headway in their sectors.

Roofing specialists Chadwick Technology have only been in Hong Kong for five years - and on the mainland since last year - but have chalked up some prestigious projects, ranging from new airport terminals in the SAR and Kuala Lumpur to the Jin Mao building in Shanghai and Singapore's Expo railway station.

In its export effort, the company has also helped other Australian manufacturers find new markets, most notably The Townsend Group, Teasco and Simplex Ceilings.

CSI Pacific is another company exporting hi-tech solutions by creating 'intelligent buildings'.

Biggest recent successes in Hong Kong include a $50 million contract to upgrade security and access at the Mass Transit Railway Corporation's maintenance facilities.

The company is also designing and implementing part of the MTR's new smart-card system, while extending its reach through the region with similar state-of-the-art projects on the Guangzhou Metro as well as Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Tianjin, Nanjing and Xian.

Innovation is also the buzzword at Ansett Australia, which is now flying five times a week between Hong Kong and Sydney.

Its 'Sky Chefs' concept, creating a 'restaurant in the skies' with on-board chefs serving first and business class passengers individually-prepared meals, has since been adopted by several airlines, including Austria's Lauda Air.

Similarly inventive is Ansett's 'Spaceship' approach to seating with more legroom and the most spacious cabins. 'Individual service defines our innovative flying experience,' a spokesman said.

This year, Ansett was voted third-best airline in the Asia-Pacific by Business Traveller magazine; last year, it collected the prize for Best Large Australian Business in Asia from the magazine In ternational Business Asia.

Summing up the importance of innovation, Alison Wenck, publisher of Aus tralian Connections and a member of the awards judging panel, said: 'One thing the awards demonstrates is Australia's growing prowess in technology.

The awards are a forum for promoting the true image of Australia as a provider of state-of-the-art technology and niche products.'