An online platform with digital tools and practical know-how for exporters, the initiative was launched and introduced jointly with the Handelsverband Österreich (Austrian Trade Assosciation) and AustrianStartups.

With Austrian exports of goods up 5.7% in 2018 and expected to grow another 3.7% in 2019, according to the Austrian Economics Research Institute (WIFO), on Tuesday of last week, Google Austria launched Market Finder as a way to introduce small and medium-sized enterprises in Austria to attractive export markets and thus growth opportunities.

According to the Internet World Stats, today, over 4 billion people worldwide are online, and by 2030 about twice as many people should have access to the Internet, which illustrates the dimension of the Internet’s potential as an export and economic factor. More and more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are looking beyond their traditional sales countries in Europe, trying to adapt to the upheavals of the global economy and position themselves in distant markets.

Company-specific export potentials

According to Google spokesman Samuel Leiser, Market Finder is designed to provide digital know-how, practical tools and eLearning modules. The platform brings together export-oriented companies with Google and other organizations with in-depth knowledge of a particular field. The aim is to provide answers to export questions, from internationalization strategy, financing and security to technical questions relating to customs and taxation. It can also assist in analyzing the demand for one’s own products in potential target markets, in recording customer potential through to online marketing and sales via e-commerce – and increasingly via mobile devices as well.

The market potential is based on frequency of Google searches for certain product categories. Therefore, companies can use these insights to target customers (presumably via Google Advertising) in the regions the tool indicates.

In other news, Austria has recently been a the center of a debate over a “digital tax”. According to an article in Der Standard, Sebastian Kurz seeks companies that make over 750 million euros revenue (25 million of which is made in Austria) to pay a five percent digital tax per year. This size designation clearly targets internet giants like Google, Facebook, Airbnb.

This article was updated at 09:51 on April 4, 2019 to include the information on the digital tax.

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Born 1993, Julia C. Seidl did her first internship at the Austrian news paper "Die Presse" when she was 17. After living in the US for half a year, she went on to study "Journalism & Media Management" in Vienna and continued working as a freelancer for several local news outlets such as ORF, Kurier and Falter. Seidl was employed at the weekly "Die Ganze Woche" before joining the Metropole team as an editor in 2018. She mainly writes about social issues and specializes in doing portraits and interviews. Seidl is the company's Online Content Manager and also responsible for the social media accounts of the magazine.