Trade experts are holding a one-off workshop tomorrow on building business relationships with China.

Distribution in China: Distributor Engagement and E-Commerce is hosted by ExportNZ and the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

Keynote speakers are Dr Ben Fath of the University of Auckland Business School and independent consultant Paul O'Brien, a former adviser to Douglas Pharmaceuticals and CEO of EasiYo.

With 20 years experience selling to China, his companies have received three export awards and he was a judge of the Auckland ExportNZ Awards for the past five years.

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The two-hour workshop from 3pm will include a session on cross-border e-commerce. Mr O'Brien will conduct a needs assessment of participants and a group work session on e-commerce in the China market. To prepare for the workshop participants are given two articles from the Harvard Business Review.

ExportNZ Hawke's Bay executive officer Amanda Liddle said in light of New Zealand's ever-growing trade relationship with China, it was vital that businesses had the best market intelligence available.

"We all know good relationships are important for doing business in China but how we build them in that still largely unfamiliar market is one of the big questions, particularly for companies looking to break in," she said.

"This workshop will go a long way to answering that by combining the first-hand knowledge of a seasoned operator in China with tools developed by University of Auckland Business School which use extensive research into New Zealand businesses' engagement with Asian markets.

"The workshop is aimed at SMEs intending to increase their commitment to China and will equip participants with practical tools to successfully navigate the challenge of forming partnerships and developing distribution arrangements in this challenging market."