2000s - Australian exporters stay resilient

The new millennium opened with the Sydney Olympic Games, which saw strong growth in goods and services exports throughout 2000 and 2001. 

A new millenium

Export growth was helped by the low value of the Australian dollar, strong rural production, high commodity prices and a strong rebound in East Asia following the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

However, a severe drought and rising concerns over global terrorism in the early naughts took a toll on Australia's trade performance.

November 2001 marked the start of the Doha Development Round of negotiations at the World Trade Organization. The aim of this round was to lower trade barriers across the world, helping to increase global trade.

Throughout the 2000s, Australia signed free trade agreements (FTAs) with several trading partners. This included Singapore (2003), Thailand (2005), the US (2005), and Chile (2009). Australia also signed its first multi-country FTA in 2009. The Agreement established the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA). 

The global financial crisis (GFC) began in 2008 with the crash of the Lehman Brothers investment banking company. Its collapse quickly hit economies across the globe. 

Fortunately, Australia was one of the strongest performing economies in the global downturn. This was thanks to a responsive fiscal stimulus, new monetary policy and sound economic management. 

Australia's greatest survival weapons were its exporters, who showed great fighting spirit in the face of adversity.

Overall trade in goods and services between Australia and most of its major trading partners fell considerably during the GFC. 

But trade between Australia and China increased. Rapid growth, urbanisation and industrialisation created a surge in Chinese demand for Australian raw materials. This was especially true of thermal coal and iron ore.

Trade rose by 15.2%, reaching a then record $11 billion surplus by the end of 2009. Two-way trade also grew from $73.9 billion in 2008 to $85.2 billion in 2009. We exported 266.2 million tonnes of iron ore worth $21.7 billion to China in 2009. This was an increase of 45.2% over the same period in 2008.

By 2009, China, Japan, the US and Republic of Korea were the nation's top four trading partners. About 70% of Australia's trade was with the member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). By the end of 2009, China surpassed Japan to become Australia's largest export market.

The Wiggles: Conquering the world is child's play

Australian Exporter of the Year 2005 

Conquering the world has been child’s play for The Wiggles. Celebrating their 31st year in 2022, Australia’s biggest showbiz export has created music, television shows and films that are widely regarded as modern classics.

Today, Anthony (blue), Lachy (purple), Simon (red) and Tsehay (yellow), the Fruit Salad TV Wiggles and a squad of friendly characters are loved by children across the globe. The names Dorothy the Dinosaur, Wags the Dog and Captain Feathersword are as recognisable as The Wiggles themselves.

 Wiggle wins just keep coming

With 13 platinum albums, The Wiggles hit 1 billion music streams across Spotify, Apple Music and other music streaming services in January 2021.

The group has taken out 26 ARIA Awards over three decades. They were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2011. In 2003, The Wiggles were awarded the ARIA Outstanding Achievement Award for their success in the US. Four years later, the group made ARIA Awards history, winning the most ARIA Awards in any one category. 

The Wiggles TV shows are broadcast in more than 100 countries. They include the US, Canada, UK, Japan, Italy and New Zealand, as well as countries across Latin America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

The group’s cover of Tame Impala’s Elephant was performed as part of Triple J’s Like A Version series. It placed first in Triple J’s 2021 Hottest 100 countdown.

Australian Exporter of the Year win a proud achievement 

The Wiggles were named Australia’s Exporter of the Year in 2005. They were the first entertainers to win Australia’s top export award.

‘When The Wiggles were named Australia’s Exporter of the year, it was a major achievement for the group,’ says The Wiggles General Manager, Luke Field.

‘We’ve always had a really special relationship with our international audience. Over the past couple of years, we’ve really missed performing overseas, and can’t wait to get back on the road later this year.’

Success comes from a knowledge of child development

The original Wiggles began while Anthony Field, Murray Cook and Greg Page were studying Early Childhood Education at Sydney’s Macquarie University. The trio began writing children’s songs in the hope that it would help them secure jobs after university. They enlisted the help of Jeff Fatt, who played with Anthony in the popular 1980s band The Cockroaches.

Anthony Field says much of The Wiggles’ success comes from their knowledge of child development. 

‘A lot of what we do comes from a child’s perspective,’ he says. ‘It’s got a lot to do with what songs are about and the language we use. I like to think we know how to write pretty catchy tunes. Right from the start we gave a lot of thought to what was appropriate for children’s music.’

Over the years, The Wiggles have added new faces and characters to better reflect the diversity of their audience.

‘The Wiggles will continue to evolve to better reflect the world we live in,’ says Field.

‘We want children of all nationalities to see themselves reflected on screen and unite through song and dance. We’ve been performing for children around the world for 31 years now, and there are no plans on slowing down!’

Visit The Wiggles website.

Purple Wiggle asleep being woken by other Wiggles
The Wiggles with friends like Dorothy the Dinosaur
The Wiggles with guitars

Images courtesy of The Wiggles 

Cheeky brand, aussieBum goes global

Australian Export Award Winner 2006

Iconic Aussie swimwear and underwear label, aussieBum shows just what a smart idea, a little innovation, and some great marketing can do. 

Born on the shores of Bondi Beach in 2001, aussieBum now exports men's swimwear and underwear to leading department stores across the globe. Its products are currently available in more than 120 countries. 

The company also boasts almost one million annual customers ordering direct via its e-commerce site. The site is currently available in in 11 languages. 

Exporting the Aussie lifestyle

Founder and managing director, Sean Ashby, says the company’s global approach has always been to showcase Australia's distinctive culture and landscape. 

‘What sets aussieBum apart from our global competitors is the fact we are marketing something more than a product,’ he says. ‘aussieBum is a lifestyle that reflects our sporting, easy going, beach-loving culture.’

The company’s innovative business approach saw aussieBum flourish during the Global Financial Crisis. Worldwide sales soared. Today, the company can process, pick, pack and ship an average 2,500 daily orders from its Australian headquarters.

The aussieBum brand’s global appeal

The company is now firmly established as a marketing master. The aussieBum brand has cameoed in everything from Kylie Minogue videos, French Vogue, to the Guinness Book of Records and sitcom sensation Modern Family.

In 2012, aussieBum teamed up with the DisneyMedia+ for a pioneering product placement deal in Marvel’s The Avengers. In the film, superheroes (with Aussie actor Chris Hemsworth as Thor) were strategically positioned alongside billboard ads for the brand. 

In 2018, aussieBum developed the world’s most expensive men’s underwear. The 24 carat gold undies received global media attention and saw company profits jump by $1 million. 

With its impressive design-to-shelves capability, aussieBum can design and release a product within seven days, ensuring a rapid and effective response. It’s a strategy that continues to pay dividends. The 2021 financial year ended on a major high, with aussieBum recording its highest sales revenue trade since launch. It also marked the company’s highest net profit.

Australian Export Award winner

The aussieBum brand won its first Australian Export Award in 2006. It won again in 2009 and 2017. 

‘Winning the Award was a major turning point for my colleagues and me,’ says Ashby. ‘It demonstrated to suppliers that my company had achieved significant industry recognition. We showcase this recognition internationally as a tool to inspire supplier and buyer confidence.’

Ashby suggests that other Aussie exporters consider applying for the awards. 

‘Nominating your company allows everyone to acknowledge its achievements and exporting success,’ he says. ‘Sometimes we are too focused on the future to see where we have come from. The Australian Export Awards allows a company to do just that.’

Visit the aussieBum website.

Man in the surf wearing aussieBum singlet
Surf lifesaver
Man with surfboard

Images courtesy of aussieBum

LASERVISION: Sights set on success

Australian Export Award Winner 2008 

LASERVISION has achieved a world-class level of technology and service while keeping true to the family values upon which the company was built. 

A world leader in entertainment communications, the company has been creating innovative multimedia attractions, special events and architectural lighting for nearly 40 years. Its creations are enjoyed by tens of thousands of people around the globe each night. 

With offices in Sydney, Dubai, Hong Kong and Vietnam, LASERVISION is currently engaged on projects across Australia, the US, Asia and Europe. 

World-class innovations drive ongoing successes

Since 1984, LASERVISION has been innovating world-class, large-scale entertainment technologies. Today, its government-approved research and development (R&D) facilities are widely regarded for their ingenuity as well as their award-winning creative and production teams. 

LASERVISION understands that shows are becoming increasingly more complex to meet the growing demands of modern audiences. It works closely with clients to design and create unique sensory experiences. It is also constantly devising new techniques and technologies to produce its world-class spectaculars. 

Through this constant innovation, LASERVISION boasts an impressive range of patented technology solutions to meet evolving market demands for creative content.

Australian Export Awards should be on every innovative business' list

In 2008, LASERVISION won its first Australian Export Award, winning again in 2010 and 2011. LASERVISION became the 10th company inducted into the Australian Export Awards Hall of Fame at the 50th Australian Export Awards ceremony in 2012. 

‘Our multiple Australian Export Awards are some of our most cherished awards today,’ says LASERVISION CEO, Shannon Brooks. 

‘We appreciate the recognition and celebration of our hard work and dedication to our innovation in the arts and entertainment industry. We are humbled by the acknowledgement these awards bring.’ 

Brooks says LASERVISION’s Australian Export Awards have no doubt contributed to the company’s ongoing success. 

‘Since winning our very first Australian Export Award back in 2008, LASERVISION has enjoyed many successes and achievements,’ he says. 

This has included multiple Guinness World Record-setting performances, as well as creating iconic entertainment on the world’s largest stages. 

‘Our success has continued to flourish after several years of support and acknowledgement from the Australian Export Awards,’ says Brooks. 

‘Winning an Australian Export Award should be on every innovative and sustainable business' list of things to accomplish!’  

Visit the LASERVISION website.

Related stories