Ambitious high-tech companies in Auckland have been given a golden opportunity to establish business deals in China, and United States, when the second Tripartite Economic Summit is held later this month.
The annual summit — more than 40 Auckland businesses attended the first one in Los Angeles last June — was borne from the November 2014 signing of the historic Tripartite Economic Alliance between Auckland, Guangzhou and Los Angeles.
The alliance focuses on increasing trade and investment between the three cities and their regions, as well as enjoying the civic and cultural activities.
The alliance also takes the traditional sister city relationship to a new trade level — and Auckland wants to make the most of the partnership when it hosts the summit at the Viaduct Events Centre on May 16 and 17.
The summit, organised by Auckland Council and its economic growth agency Auckland Tourism, Events and Development (Ateed), will feature stimulating keynote addresses, workshops and site visits associated with latest global trends in sectors such as health and nutrition, entertainment and digital media, advanced manufacturing, and urban design where Auckland has strong capability.
The summit has attracted 55 speakers and panellists, and more than 400 delegates — nearly two-thirds of them are businesspeople, investors, industry representatives and academics. The mayors are Len Brown (Auckland), Wen Guohui (Guangzhou) and Eric Garcetti (Los Angeles).
More than 170 businesses in Auckland and 60 from Guangzhou have registered. Bank of New Zealand, Huawei and Callaghan Innovation are the principal sponsors of the summit, supported by Fu Wah, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), NZ Trade and Enterprise, Asia NZ Foundation, Aecom, China Southern Airlines and Silicon Valley Bank.
Global ICT solutions provider Huawei is providing a Smart City display at the Viaduct Events during the two days of the summit.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown says the summit is the chance for Auckland to put its best foot forward.
"The city is going through a transformation and we are selling (development) opportunities in Auckland to investors who can be part of the transition over the 10 to 15 years. The summit is also an opportunity for Auckland to showcase its innovation and prowess."
Brett O'Riley, chief executive of Ateed, sees the tripartite alliance as a long-term programme of work designed to grow the Auckland economy and increase the number of companies exporting, as well as attract talent and investment to the city.
"We want this summit to be an active meeting where genuine connections are made and result in enhanced business between the three cities," he says.
Madame Li Xiaolin is bringing a small delegation and will be the highest-ranked diplomatic representative from China at the summit. She is joined by Vice-Mayor of Guangzhou Municipal Government, Wang Dong.
President of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Madame Li is the daughter of Li Xiannian, President of the People's Republic of China between 1983 and 1988 and then Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference until his death in 1992.
Madame Li hosted the New Zealand-China Mayoral Forum in Xiamen in September 2015 and is a strong advocate for developing city-to-city economic relationships.
The Auckland summit is themed "Making Connections" and Auckland is determined to strengthenrelationships and drum up more business as it continues its drive to become the world's most liveable city and an innovation hub of the Asia Pacific region.
A crucial element for the summit is business matching. Ateed has set aside the Bank of New Zealand Business Activation Lounge at the Viaduct Events Centre for meetings throughout the two days of the summit.
The business-matching can lead to a company entering the China, United States or New Zealand market with an expert local partner, or signing up an ideal supplier, or discovering new research and development and investment opportunities.
The companies have the opportunity of connecting online and sharing common interests and objectives before meeting at the summit. O'Riley says "we want to use the business matching to start discussions on potential collaboration projects. By the time they arrive in Auckland for the summit, they may be ready to sign memoranda of understanding."
For its panel sessions Ateed has selected five specialist sectors where the city has world class expertise and ground-breaking research and development: High-value food, entertainment and digital, advanced materials, smart data and urban design.
The panel discussions will explore the high-value food megatrends including health and nutrition; cross border e-commerce; how virtual and augmented reality is changing your world; new forms of media entertainment — such as apps and mobile video viewing; real-time analytics and monetisation of data; advanced automation (vehicles); and additive manufacturing (involving advanced materials and 3D Printing).
The Auckland Council's Design Office will make a presentation on transforming cities through urban design and how different cultures play a part in that. The Design Office will also explore opportunities of collaboration with counterparts in Guangzhou and Los Angeles.
The inspirational keynote speech at the summit will be given by Dr Erez Morag, former Nike Innovation Expert and founder of Acceler8 Performance. A panel of media entrepreneurs, 3Blackdot co-founder Angelo Pullen, Totem and YouTube expert Steve Crombie and Tom Cassell, who operates YouTube channel, TheSyndicateProject, will discuss "The Power of the Influencer Economy" and how social media channels are changing the way global brands market their products to consumers.
Professor Xue-Feng Yuan, of the Guangzhou National Supercomputer Centre and Lim Chee Siong of Huawei, are part of a panel discussing "Industry 4.0 ... Coming, Ready or Not" which highlights the digital revolution.
We want this summit to be an active meeting where genuine connections are made and result in enhanced business between the three cities.
Derrick Xiong, one of Asia's top 30 under 30 entrepreneurs in 2016 (ranked by Forbes), is joining the panel discussion on advanced manufacturing and automation. He co-founded Guangzhou-based EHang which makes consumer drones controlled through a smartphone app. EHang is now developing an all-electric drone (or personal flying vehicle) that takes off with the press of a button and is capable of carrying passengers.
Tuo Zhai of the China Animation Comic Game Group will lead a workshop on high growth global animation opportunities, and Ng Kok Siong, chief executive of the Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City Investment and Development Office, is part of the summit-closing Auckland Conversations where he will update delegates on the incredible urban development project.
The Knowledge City, under construction in an undeveloped area of Guangzhou, is designed to transform the Guangdong province from "a world factory of cheap goods" into a centre of higher-value production.
The priority industries located in the Knowledge City are ICT, creative, science and education services, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical. There will also be cancer research facilities.
The city, being developed over 123sq km, will have a mixture of high-tech business parks, residential, commercial, recreation, open spaces and public amenities. It is expected to reach a population of 540,000 and create 270,000 jobs within 20 years. A new rail link is being completed between Guangzhou and Hong Kong and will stop at the Knowledge City.
Site visits during the summit will include a tour of Auckland University's world-class Centre for Advanced Composite Materials at the Newmarket campus. This will also include an interactive workshop that provides an overview of technology pioneered and developed in New Zealand for global applications.
There is also a visit to Auckland University of Technology's Motion Capture Lab to experience the latest in virtual reality applications; and to the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery which is renowned for its research and developments in treating cancer, diabetes and infectious diseases.
Guangzhou, Auckland and Los Angeles are developing their waterfronts and city centres, and a workshop entitled "Creating the World's Most Liveable Cities" will explore ideas and knowledge, discuss challenges and identify emerging opportunities. This will be the modus operandi throughout the two days of the unique summit.
Tripartite Economic Summit — Auckland
• In November 2014, the mayors of Auckland, Guangzhou and Los Angeles signed the world-first Tripartite Economic Alliance agreement.
The three cities aim to set a new standard for how modern cities can engage and collaborate in the 21st Century.
The inaugural Tripartite Economic Summit was held in Los Angeles in June 2015, with the theme of "Innovation — through Commercialisation and Connectivity".
The 2016 summit will build on the importance of making meaningful connections with fellow entrepreneurs and innovators.
• Programme includes:
— Presentations by global business leaders
— Panel sessions focused on key industry sectors
— Sector-focused site visits, including innovative businesses and supporting infrastructure
— Networking and business matching sessions at the Bank of New Zealand Business Activation Lounge
— Entertainment and digital
— High-value foods
— Advanced materials
— Smart data
When,16-17 May 2016, ANZ Viaduct Events Centre, Viaduct Harbour, Auckland