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Current as of 16/09/14 04:00PM NZST

Christopher Adams

The Business Herald’s markets and banking reporter.

NZ firms not seen as 'special' in China

David Mahon, managing director of Mahon Investments.
David Mahon, managing director of Mahon Investments.

New Zealand businesses need to wake up to reality that they are not viewed as being particularly "special" in the Chinese market, says Beijing-based Kiwi businessman David Mahon.

Addressing the China Business Summit in Auckland this afternoon, the managing director of Mahon Investments said this country was good at "self-propagandising" its success in the world's second biggest economy.

"We get the trade statistics that tell us we're doing China right - there is no China strategy," Mahon said. "We are still being too opportunistic. We're still largely selling commodities to China."

Mahon said New Zealand had "screwed up" in China this year with issues such as the DCD "debacle" in January, the meat hold-up on Chinese wharves and then Fonterra's botulism false alarm.

"We've probably kicked three own goals," he said. "They were pretty dumb because at least two of them could have been great statements of our transparency and our integrity."

Mahon said Fonterra could do "some pretty dumb things" and could be "pretty arrogant because they're a huge piece of our economy".

"But when it comes down to the truth of the situation they (Fonterra) act with integrity," he said.

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