Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

United approach vital to China success

Prime Minister John Key has been in China over the past week with a business delegation. Political editor Audrey Young spoke to some of the delegation about their take-out from the trip and personal highlights.

New Zealand Food and Grocery Council chief executive Katherine Rich says the greatest opportunities are in China's smaller cities.  Photo / Mark Mitchell
New Zealand Food and Grocery Council chief executive Katherine Rich says the greatest opportunities are in China's smaller cities. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Katherine Rich Chief executive, New Zealand Food and Grocery Council.

"The message is that companies which aren't doing business here [need to] start to focus on China. The opportunities are only going to grow.

"The other take-out I got from this trip was that while many New Zealand companies focus on the main centres the greater opportunities are in the smaller cities because everybody is trying to do business in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.

"At the moment, the major focus of my members is in Australia but as we grow our markets, the future is here."

Jamie Tuuta The Maori Trustee.

"The key take-out for me is about New Zealand working together, having greater unity in terms of a lot of the businesses we have.

"There's a need for greater collaboration just because of our size.

"One of the key highlights is the way in which China values the relationship with New Zealand and how we might be able to leverage that.

"Sharing that experience with the people on the delegation was vitally important because hopefully it will provide some cohesion around how we might work more collaboratively as NZ Inc in the future."

Catherine Beard Executive director, Export NZ and Manufacturing NZ (Business NZ).

"I think a key take-out for exporters generally is that the opportunities are huge but it is quite a big, sophisticated market that's growing really fast and every multinational is here and every big brand is here.

"You have to have a very significant key point of difference, probably be quite niche, and start not in the tier one and two cities but maybe the three, four, and five.

"The personal highlight was just seeing the scale of the place. I hadn't been to China and it is just so big, and [the] sophistication of places like Shanghai.

"You could be in any sparkly, fast-paced, high-end city in the world."

Martin Snedden Chief executive, Tourism Industry Association.

"For me the big take-out was being here, being immersed in China for a week and understanding the large gulf that exists between New Zealanders' perceptions of Chinese and the reality of it.

And the realisation that if we are going to succeed right across the whole spectrum of our relationship with China, not just tourism, the whole shebang, is that we have to tune in a lot more accurately into the nature, the culture, the psyche of the people we are dealing with.

"When we went to Shanghai and we were taken to the urban museum and the floor model demonstrated the intensity of urbanisation in a way you had to see to believe, and therefore how precious it is that we have got space, we've got freshness and an environment which, if you were living in Shanghai, you could not do anything but think that would be a lovely thing to experience."

Sir Mark Solomon Chairman, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu.

"The biggest shock to me has been the size, the scale of the cities of China.

"I've also been incredibly shocked at how highly regarded we are, and the turn-out of high-ranking Government officials that have welcomed us.

"In many ways for me, what it personifies, coming from a country with the population of New Zealand, [is] that New Zealand industry needs to start working in a collaborative approach if we want to make any inroads into this economy.

"The highlight was meeting the people of China. I find a lot of similarities with Maori in the way they act and greet you.

"I find them easy to talk to and get on with and regardless of where you stand, they are going to be a major part of the future of New Zealand."

Professor Jenny Dixon Auckland University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (strategic engagement).

"The critical point here is that it is not just one way, from China to New Zealand, it's also from New Zealand to China.

"We are obviously interested in the quality of the programmes we can offer students from China but equally we are interested in our students going to China and the research opportunities that we can engage [in] with colleagues in China.

"That I think is very significant.

"It was quite special to see the focus at the gala dinner on the creative arts and the contribution of creative arts to New Zealand's economic development."

- NZ Herald

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