Department of State Development



  • With the closure of many restaurants, bars and tasting rooms in the United States, there has been an increase in consumer purchasing and online retail wine sales, particularly with virtual wine tastings, social media advertising and unique virtual experiences.
  • There has been a 72% increase in new alcohol buyers online compared to the same time last year, which provides South Australian wineries with an opportunity to capitalise on this new online market.

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  • Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, China’s import of goods has recovered to nearly the same level as last year.
  • Two more offshore duty free shops will be added to the South China island province of Hainan, bringing the total number of offshore duty free shops in Haikou to four.

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Hong Kong

Food and beverage:

  • Retail frozen packs (branded or private labelling)
  • Ready to eat meals; beef, chicken, mutton, seafood, fish, abalone, small goods, sausages (organic, no hormones or antibodies, natural)
    • Plant based/vegetable proteins
    • Healthy and functional foods and snacks
    • Dairy – fresh and UHT milk
    • Non-alcoholic  beverages
    • Handwash

Health and Medical:

  • PPE – face and eye shields, hand gloves (latex and nitrile), isolation gown for healthcare sectors, workforce and consumer
  • Health supplements – immunity booster
  • Gerontechnology:
    • New norm – golden age/elderly staying at home even more and doing e-banking, e-shopping and home exercise
    • Help for elderly individuals to retain self-management skills – AI and robotics, chat bot/video conferencing/auto routing/health index monitoring
    • Assistive technology/devices (e.g. prevent falls)
    • Telehealth, inclusive designs
    • Digital application platforms with two interfaces – one designed for golden age/elderly groups
    • Evidence based testbeds for new product development.

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  • South Australian exporters of red lentils, along with opportunities for high-yielding seed for pulses and lentils, stand as a key opportunity for the South Australian agri-commodities segment.
  • A new education policy has been implemented which will provide opportunities for South Australian universities to link in with the traditional, online and vocational curriculum of India.

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  • Australia and Japan have reached an in-principle agreement on a landmark defence treaty that will further deepen the countries’ strategic and security relationship. The Reciprocal Access Agreement represents a pivotal moment in the history of Japan-Australia ties and will pave the way for a new chapter of advanced defence cooperation.

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Technology/Digital Economy:

  • Malaysia will establish a Digital Economy Task Force at government and industry level, responsible for executing 15 high impact programs to accelerate the digital agenda. Key areas of focus include talent development, the gig economy, e-learning, adoption of cashless payments, e-commerce, digitalisation of SMEs, promoting startups and innovation, cyber security and data sharing.

Food and Beverage:

  • A major Malaysian fresh produce importer cited an uptick in demand for apples, oranges and citrus produce since the implementation of Malaysia’s lockdown.

Economic indicators: 

  • Malaysia unemployment rate drops as sectors reopen during RMCO Malaysia's June 2020 unemployment rate declined month-on-month to 4.9 per cent from a record-high of 5.3 per cent in May 2020 as more sectors, including the services industry, reopened due to the implementation of the nation's recovery movement control order (RMCO) to revive the country's economy while curbing the Covid-19 pandemic. In a statement, Statistics Department chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the number of unemployed persons declined by 52,900 individuals, or 6.4 per cent, to 773,200 people in June 2020.
  • Malaysia on track for economic recovery in 2021, says Zafrul Malaysia’s economy is on the right track for recovery in 2021, said Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz. Judging by the recent pick-up in economic performance, the minister said he was optimistic that the country’s economy would rebound next year. "We are watching this closely, but I’m very optimistic after seeing the facts and figures that were presented before us, especially for June and July," he told reporters

Trade & Investment:

  • RCEP: Signing expected to proceed in November, says Azmin The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) participating countries (RPCs), including Malaysia, are expected to proceed with the signing of the agreement in November, according to International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali. He pointed out that the trade and industry ministers of RPCs had agreed to do this at the virtual 10th RCEP Inter-sessional Ministerial Meeting on June 23.


  • Applications for cross-border travel between Malaysia and Singapore will be open on Monday 17 August 2020. Immigration Department (JIM) director-general Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud in a statement today said foreigners living in Singapore who wish to enter Malaysia for a short period of time for official purposes and business dealings could do so through the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) facility.

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  • A global fall in oil prices was indirectly caused by COVID-19 after a drop in demand from China led to Saudi Arabia cutting export prices in March 2020. The fall in oil prices caused a contraction in economies across the oil trade-dependent GCC (Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and UAE) with the IMF predicting a loss of more than $230 billion in lost annual revenue. Likewise, the paralysis in the tourism industry as a result of border closures and travel restrictions across MENA to contain COVID-19  are having a negative impact on economies of the region; in UAE, Emirates Airlines alone is set to cut 9,000 jobs and has already done the same in South Australia.
  • Economies across the region will contract roughly 3.3%, as per prediction of the IMF. While the GCC economies are predicted to bounce back in late 2021, outside of this sub-region the pain will be longer-lasting. Outside of the GCC, governments do not have the funds to invest in fiscal stimulus packages and thus will be forced to turn to international aid packages increasing foreign debt or tap into already depleted foreign reserves.
  • Grocery food and beverage items, online education and curriculum development, healthcare services and technology, cyber security and e-commerce remain some of the key opportunities for South Australia in the market.

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South Korea

  • The total import value of Australian wines from January to September 2020 increased by more than 44% compared to the same period last year. Australian wines have grown in South Korea, highlighting an opportunity for South Australian wineries to enter the market.

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Food, Agribusiness & Wine

  • Suppliers of organic produce, free from & healthy food products in the UAE have seen delivery sales spike as much as 300 to 400 percent as residents become increasingly health conscious amid the Covid19 pandemic. 
  • Sizable disposable income, a more health conscious consumer, and local government initiatives for a fitter lifestyle are increasing the demand of such products.
  • Traditional brick & mortar grocery retailers are looking to expand their online presence.
  • Dubai Duty Free which does retailing at Dubai International Airport, has now started online sales and home delivery within UAE for different category of products.
  • There has been a huge drop in sales of alcohol/wines due to the temporary shutdown of hotels and their high end restaurants/bars in the first & second quarter of 2020.

Health & Medical

  • Enhanced focus on innovative medical devices and technology with UAE based healthcare stakeholders looking for hi-tech – AI & ML driven healthcare technology from around the World.
  • There are opportunities within Healthcare services like training & development of medical staff.

Defence & Space

  • With the geopolitical situation in the region, and as per the recent attacks on some of the oil & gas assets both on-shore and offshore, the regional economies like Saudi Arabia & UAE have a big focus on investing into drones, underwater defense systems, and advanced military accessory products. Training of military officials is also a service needed across the region.
  • Space life sciences, Robotics, Automation & AI based technologies are required by the UAE for its space sector.

International Education

  • The UAE has shown enhanced flexibility in providing recognition to online education & certification programs, especially after the outbreak of Covid19, which in turn is also making investors look at education and immersive technology opportunities in UAE and internationally. Prior to this, there was more focus on transnational education, and opening up of foreign university campuses in UAE.
  • Opportunities exist in online education curriculum development for school & university students as well as for professionals.

E-commerce opportunities for the region

  • Ecommerce is a growing opportunity in UAE both for food & beverage as well as other FMCG product categories.
  • Internet penetration is above 95% in the UAE, and majority of them are using social media platforms like Facebook & Instagram, and Whatsapp business is also picking up.
  • Fashion & apparel is another segment where UAE is big on online ecommerce, with a lot more consumers opting to shop online in the current Covid19 scenario; a trend expected to continue even after Covid19.

Investment Focus

  • Investors from UAE are looking to build resilience against future crises & more open to look at investments into areas such as clean water & sanitation, good health & well-being, and other sustainable, green or impact investment opportunities both domestically and internationally. The Covid19 crisis has highlighted a sizable vulnerability in the strategic assessment and planning for investors & corporates not only of the healthcare systems, but also of the global supply chain across different sectors.

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  • South Australian companies may have the opportunity to provide their expertise into the newly announced ‘Green Revolution’ plan. The plan includes additional investment in offshore, wine, hydrogen, nuclear power, no new petrol or diesel cars to be sold after 2030 and making London the global centre of green finance.
  • Also announced for the UK, was an increase in defence spending over four years. It is likely that cyber, space, unmanned vehicles and hi-tech future soldier equipment will figure highly. South Australian companies will be able to bid for work through the defence portal, even without a presence in the UK.
  • The UK market is providing opportunities for growth for Australian wineries, with wine value up 18% and volume up 10%. Varieties that have shown growth include Shiraz, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet, Viognier and Tempranillo.
  • The Brexit deal is expected to bring no tariffs, quotas and ‘as free as possible movement of people’. There is currently a strong focus within the UK and Europe on existing brands and trusted relationships, with new entrants requiring a compelling USP to displace existing brands that are currently selling well. In the EU markets, Australian producers will be ‘price takers’ so there is price exposure on the downside, unless targeting niche.
  • 85% of exports to the UK are ‘unpackaged’ by brands such as McGuigan, Yellow Tail, Hardy’s and Treasury and then re-exported to Europe.
  • In Switzerland and Belgium, there is increasing demand for organic wines that South Australian wineries can capitalise upon.
  • For South Australian wineries, Wine Australia will not be hosting at ProWein, developing a global virtual event in March 2021.

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Market access

The Department for Trade and Investment supports all South Australian exporters to access global markets. With recent import inspections introduced by some countries across a range of sectors, the South Australian Government continues to work through these requirements with industry, the Federal Government and in-market counterparts.

Any South Australian exporter experiencing market access difficulty can speak with one of the department’s global team members who are ‘on the ground’ and can offer support and advice. Exporters should keep in close contact with their importers.

Our TradeStart team can provide advice and information on doing business in overseas markets, access to grant funding and training programs and helping to assess export capability.

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