The Newest Player In Asia Is Down Under

As he cruises the congested waters of China's Pearl River, Australian shipbuilder Garry Heys is getting excited. Amid patrol boats, barges, and creaky wooden fishing boats, General Manager Heys proudly points out the sleek ferries made by his Perth-based company, Austal Ships Ltd. Over there is the Shun Jing, a 40-meter catamaran ferry on its way to a Guangdong boomtown. "There goes another one!" he shouts. It's the Gao Ming, crowded with passengers from Hong Kong. Since 1991, Austal has sold 23 ferries in China--worth $5 million each. "Our order books are full," says Heys. "We never expected this business to be so big."

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