Zinc Group leveraged Export Finance Australia assistance to form a joint venture to expand into the lucrative Chinese market – and beyond.
In 2018, Australian marketing company Zinc Group made it into the Australian Financial Review’s 100 Fastest Growing Companies in Australia list – achieving an average year-on-year growth of 40% over the previous three years. That’s extraordinary progress for a small business launched from a single office in Melbourne in 2005.
Peter Cleary, Managing Director & Group CEO, said the company now has 14 offices across nine different countries, including the USA, China, Indonesia, Singapore, New Zealand, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The company works for a wide range of businesses delivering a variety of marketing services, including relationship marketing, promotional marketing, digital, strategy and planning.
So what makes Zinc Group stand out? Peter said it’s all about the principle of “Shared Value”.
“Profit is not the ultimate reward, it's about being able to create value as a business and then share that value with our team, our other stakeholders and with our clients,” he said. “We attract the best people, then nurture and reward our team so that we can produce the best work – and this purpose-led culture has always been the cornerstone of Zinc.”
Partnering with a local
The energetic team at Zinc Group were keen to crack the Chinese market. After some initial unsuccessful attempts, they decided that a joint venture with a local partner would be the best way to go forward. Iain Andrew, Chief Financial Officer explained the journey.
“We registered a wholly foreign-owned entity joint venture, where we were 50/50,” he said.
“In the first nine months we were flooded with international contracts with major companies, such as Siemens, and the cash flow of the group grew quite a lot.”
But, while business was booming, Zinc Group ran into funding issues.
“The problem with China is the cash flow cycle,” said Iain. “Local trading terms are quite long – 60 or 90 days and in some cases, five months.”