An agreement of co-operation signed between Auckland and Beijing is being pitched as a way of sourcing much-needed capital for projects in the City of Sails.
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) signed a Statement of Co-operation with the Beijing Investment Promotion Bureau on Saturday.
The agreement between the cities' economic development agencies will help build bilateral business and investment relations, said Clyde Rogers, ATEED general manager business and sector development.
It comes as Auckland mayor Len Brown is pushing to find capital for a 3.5km-long underground rail loop around the central city, priced at nearly $3 billion.
Auckland needs to be looking to foreign investors to help with such projects, Rogers said.
"There's a lack of equity and capital in New Zealand and the only way we can source that is by looking internationally."
Rogers said ATEED is working at packaging up a range of investment opportunities in the city to be taken to international markets.
"A shopping list"
The Beijing Investment Promotion Bureau (BIPB) came to Auckland with "a shopping list", he said.
Auckland's food and beverage, and education sectors were of clear interest to the group. Rogers pointed to ICT and health technology as other growth sectors for Auckland.
Len Brown said the agreement was a direct outcome of Auckland Council's recent trade mission to China.
"We received a warm reception from the Mayor of Beijing, Mr Guo Jinglong and I am thrilled our visit has directly and rapidly resulted in closer links as we work to realise
Auckland's potential as an international city," Brown said.
The BIPB has moved quickly in appointing BNZ investment banker Eddie Xie as their local representative.
Xie, an ex-resident of Bejing who has lived in New Zealand for about ten years, said the BIPB was pleased to have cemented a strategic partnership between the two cities.
The Icehouse CEO Andy Hamilton, who was on the recent trade mission to China, said the agreement has the potential to pay real dividends.
"This type of collaboration is hugely valuable if we are to attract investment to Auckland businesses from the all-important Chinese market."