The Amstrad Plc miracle is beginning to make waves in Australia, where the company has reportedly taken a 10% share of the market after only a little over one month of operations. According to BBC Radio Four’s Financial World Tonight, that puts Amstrad just behind IBM – which actually manufactures the things there – and Apple Computer Inc in the personal computer stakes, and from nowhere to number one in the small business sector of the personal computer market. Yet Amstrad machines have been sold in the Australian market almost since the company moved into the microcomputer business in 1984, so what’s the switch? The answer is the formation of Amstrad Australia Pty Ltd, which has taken over marketing of the machines from the AWA-Mitsubishi joint venture of Amalgamated Wireless Australasia Pty Ltd, which, the local company says, never promoted the machines properly. The new subsidiary launched itself onto the market with – in Australian terms – an enormous advertising budget of $1.6m $Aus2m in the local currency. Amstrad Australia reckons that XT alikes still account for 50% of the Australian market, althoughlarge companies now buy AT-alikes or PS/2s, and that the XT market will be a lucrative one for the company for another four years. Nevertheless it does see the more advanced machines accounting for 60% of the market next year, which suggests it won’t be too long before the machines due out from the UK parent next week find their way down to Oz. And that 10% market share ain’t hay either – Amstrad Australia reckons that the total local market will be worth $1,000m to $1,100m this year. Making the achievement even more striking is the fact that Australia is the country that Japanese and Far Eastern manufacturers use for test marketing before moving to the US and Europe, so that it is an extremely competitive market, and Amstrad Australia believes that there are at least 150 brands of personal computer there.