Australian Made logo makes dream journey to China

A new Australian Made retail opportunity could be worth billions to local manufacturers.
A new Australian Made retail opportunity could be worth billions to local manufacturers.

From its humble beginnings as a program established in the mid-1980s to encourage the importance of buying local goods and produce, the Australian Made green-and-gold kangaroo has grown to become one of the most recognised retail emblems.

Now thanks to the efforts of Queensland exporter David Goodwin, the well-known Aussie icon could be destined for even bigger and better things – in China.

In a retail opportunity its backers claim "could be worth billions" to local manufacturers, the logo will be used to market and promote Australian products in as many as 200 Australian Made-branded stores throughout China over the next two years.

Goodwin had been examining different opportunities for exporting to China since 2007 and gradually came to realise the enormous influence the logo had over Chinese consumers.

Brand recognition

"Australian Made so far only concerned [sic] with selling products to Australians. It is probably the most recognised brand in Australia but also out of it," Goodwin said.

"Go to China and our premium products – with the exception of wine – will have the yellow and gold kangaroo on it.

"The brand represents what Australia is to the Chinese: it must be clean; it must be green; it must be a wilderness."

A bright future ahead: artist's impression of what an Australian Made store could look like.

Project momentum

For Goodwin, the momentum with which the project has moved forward has been rapid. He pitched the idea of opening specialty retail outlets to the Department of Trade only a year ago, and they promptly signed off on Goodwin's company leasing the trademark.

Late in September, the deal was inked during a meeting in China with Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson. The first shop will open its doors in Shanghai in January.

"Mr Billson was in Shanghai and I said, 'Bill, we have a live one here; we have to get on this.' After that, the capital for the project was approved. The Australian government don't have to do anything," Goodwin said.

"That will put close to $1 billion behind the Australian Made logo in the next few years. A billion dollars behind people who run with Australian Made on their products."

For Goodwin, the early success of Australia Made's drive to establish itself in China is just the tip of the iceberg.

"We have 15 local provinces ready to go, which will provide 10 stores per province. So there's our first 150."

Chinese investors in the project are expected to hold talks with government officials later this week in order to finalise the deal.