Agents honoured for promoting products
Hong Kong's top Chinese wine expert, a software specialist and a family ship-repairing company are the three finalists in the only award category open to non-Australian companies - the ANZ Business Promotion Award.
The category was created to honour companies demonstrating 'excellence in promoting and marketing Australian products or services'.
Rod Unsworth, director of the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade), said: 'It is appropriate given the importance that a good agent can play in helping Australian exporters bring their product or service to the market. This is particularly so in Hong Kong, where they can open doors into mainland China.
'Without them, these products would not have been nearly as successful in the market place.' This definition certainly applies to Simon Tam's Wine Institute of Asia, which has played a key role in introducing Australian vintages to both Hong Kong and the mainland since it was founded four years ago. Wine sales have sky-rocketed during that period.
Mr Tam founded the enterprise on returning to Hong Kong from Australia, where he lived from the age of six. The institute organises numerous seminars, tastings and competitions to promote the delights and benefits of wine drinking, both locally and elsewhere in China.
The institute has also helped Austrade organise wine festivals in Guangzhou.
Mr Tam, currently studying to become the first Asian 'Master of Wine', has ensured that Australian wines now feature on many restaurant menus.
The institute has chalked up several 'firsts'. Not least was the first series of wine competitions staged in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore, as well as the first Chinese Wine Competition in Beijing.
It has also been a consultant to numerous companies, including Penfold's, one of Australia's top wineries.
'We focus on how to bridge the cultural gap within local wine markets in China, especially Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou,' the institute's business development director, Selina Lok, said.
For another finalist, Fai Seto, quality workmanship was his philosophy when he established AFAI Ships, a repair factory in Hong Kong, in 1949 at the age of 29. It is a philosophy continued by Antony Szeto, his eldest grandson and the company's executive director, who diversified the company in the early 1980s to focus on building high-speed catamarans.
The company built a new shipyard from scratch and trained college graduates to build the vessels so the highest quality standards could be followed.
Those standards were recognised when the yard was selected to build sophisticated, Australian-designed AQUAN ferries used between Hong Kong, Macau and southern China.
The third finalist is Compuware Asia- Pacific, a US-owned corporation which employs 150 Australian and New Zealand IT specialists in the region.
Compuware, the world's fifth largest software company, helped develop and promote the revolutionary AURION business management system, which was designed in Queensland by HR Software.