Roach said there is more to Australia than beaches, farms and mines. Australia's rapidly growing IT economy is the third largest in the Asia-Pacific region after Japan and China. He said Australia's IT market was just under $US36 billion in 1999 and is forecast to grow by at least 8.5 per cent a year for the next few years.
A $US50 billion global IT&T provider, Fujitsu employs over 2000 people in Australia; its turnover last year in Australia was $A700 million.
Pointing out that Australia has the most deregulated telecommunications market in the Asia-Pacific region, Roach said services costs are already among the lowest in the world. "Australia is a highly skilled and computer-literate workforce and has the greatest number of computers per capita outside the United States," he said.
Fujitsu launched the joint investment initiative with BAE Systems Australia chief executive Peter Anstiss and Commonwealth Industry Department chief executive Russell Higgins.
With an internet penetration rate of 43 per cent, Higgins said Australia rates just behind the US and well ahead of every other Asian economy, including Japan. "E-commerce and other new technology-driven business models are rapidly adopted by Australia's sophisticated consumer market," he said.
Anstiss said Australia's geographical location enables "follow the sun" operations. "Its time zone spans the close of business in the US and the opening of business in Europe."
The initiative has been funded by the Federal government's national investment agency which is part of the Department of Industry, Science and Resources. Information is available at http://www.investaustralia.gov.au.