Elance-oDesk Launches In Australia To Compete With Freelancer.com

Elance-oDesk launched today in Australia with a new country manager and two city managers based in Melbourne and Sydney. The company also said it plans to hire more city managers to oversee its operations in Perth, Adelaide, and Brisbane.

Elance-oDesk, which was formed in a merger six months ago, says there are currently 161,000 Australian businesses registered on Elance-oDesk, or about 8% of all businesses in the country.

In Australia, Elance-oDesk will compete against Freelancer.com, which is based in Sydney and filed for an IPO last fall. Smaller challengers include Ozlance.com, as well as Global Virtual Support, which manages Southeast Asia-based employees to handle customer service requests for small- to medium-sized businesses. The founders of Global Virtual Support recently launched Supahands, a virtual assistant business based in Singapore that currently targets Southeast Asia, but plans to expand to Australia soon.

But Elance-oDesk is optimistic that there is plenty of room for growth in the country and claims that Australia is the top online hiring country when adjusted per capita. It said that in the last three years, Australia has seen a 235% increase in online hiring, with businesses spending $145 million in the same period. The company’s figures also show that in the last 12 months, 40% of jobs posted by Australian businesses were IT and programming-related, while 26% were design and multimedia projects.

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