South East Asia

South East Asia is a dynamic region covering Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. 

Adelaide has a sister-city relationship with Georgetown in Penang, that was established in 1973 which is further boosted with our in-market representative based in Kuala Lumpur, Adil Akbar, who is available to provide support to South Australian exporters, in-market buyers and investors looking for their next investment-ready opportunity.

Primary contact

Cathryn Carlson

Regional Director South Australia for Southeast Asia, Singapore

Cathryn joined Austrade in June 2022 as the Regional Director South Australia for Southeast Asia. Cathryn has been based in Singapore for the past 27 years and has also lived and worked in Jakarta, Paris, London, Frankfurt, and Moscow. Cathryn is originally from California and holds an MBA in finance from INSEAD and a BA in Economics and French from Wellesley College in the United States.


+65 6418 8409

Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) 25 Napier Road, Singapore 258507

Adil Akbar

Senior Business Development Manager - Kuala Lumpur

Adil Akbar brings more than 12 years of professional experience working across a diverse range of companies. These include global multinationals, SMEs and micro companies across the food and beverage, education, financial services, airline, oil and gas, infrastructure and telecommunication sectors.


+60 1 7277 0499

Australian High Commission, 6, Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


The South East Asia region covers the key markets of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. South Australia has a sister-state relationship with West Java in Indonesia which links the two regions for growth in trade and investment. 

A new trade and investment office will be established in Singapore in May 2021, that will provide South Australian companies with key, in-market access across this major distribution hub.

In January 2021, the bilateral relationship between Australia and Malaysia was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP). This builds upon the Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA), which came into force in January 2013.

Direct flights between South Australia and Kuala Lumpur make the region easily accessible and both regions have a long history of engagement in education, with a number of partnerships between the state’s universities and Malaysian institutes.

Sector opportunities

The South East Asia region presents huge prospects for South Australian exporters within the food, wine and agribusiness sector with the demand for food products increasing as consumers changing their eating habits as they favour eating out instead of at home.

The ageing population in South East Asia is likely to create opportunities in the market for aged care facilities, services and expertise by the general public and private sector. South Australia’s innovative solutions for ageing and healthcare can support wellbeing and quality of life.

South Australian defence companies and associated supply chain have an opportunity to enter the region to advance its defence technology.