Barry Soper: Eastern promise in John Key's trip to China

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PM John Key hands an All Blacks jersey to Alibaba founder Jack Ma during a trade meeting in Beijing this week. Photo / via Twitter/John Key
PM John Key hands an All Blacks jersey to Alibaba founder Jack Ma during a trade meeting in Beijing this week. Photo / via Twitter/John Key

So John Key's winging his way back to Godzone on the airforce VIP jet after his speed dating trip through China.

The most populous nation on earth's top brass rolled out the red carpet for the leader of a country, which to them, is little more than a blip on the radar screen.

There's no doubt that they mean more to us than we do to them, regardless of how we like to see ourselves. As one insider on the trip confided, if the New Zealand dairy farm dried up, the dragon wouldn't blink an eyelid.

A flea in the elephant's ear we may be but they seem to genuinely like us and our businesses are falling over themselves to get a slice of the action, and with good reason.

As one of those on the trade mission said, if we sold a paper clip to each person in China we'd be on the pig's back.

So what did the carbon footprint over the past week achieve other than the face to face interaction that's all important to the Chinese?

The glad-handing lays the groundwork for future deals, like getting an upgrade of our free trade agreement to at least bring us into line with the Aussies. That seems to be on track with Key, almost in a matter of fact sort of a way and as an afterthought, said a deal to get chilled meat into the Chinese market's a done deal.

It's worth much more than the frozen carcasses we've been restricted to up until now and matches the Aussies' first shipment this week.

And the country's richest man Jack Ma, given his enthusiasm for our little piece of paradise, could hold the key to opening the cyberspace highway for our small businesses.

His mega-shopping site Alibaba will later this year promote Kiwi produce and he's inviting anyone with something to offer to make their pitch.

And as he wrapped up his Chinese whistle stop visit to three cities in four days, Key unveiled a fifty million buck deal for Queenstown where 10,000 Chinese will invade in groups of 500 over four months of the low season in 2018.

It's an incentive reward for Amway agents, people who turn their mates into money bait, recruiting them to sell their products so they'll recruit their mates to do the same and so the chain goes on until one of them is at the top to take an incentive like the Queenstown gig.

The Queenstown mayor was even there but giggled in an embarrassed way when she was asked whether she'd ever been an Amway agent herself.

The other thing to come out of the visit was a new national anthem replacing Ten Guitars - Pokarekare Ana, frequently belted by the business people out to the amused but impressed Chinese audience.

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- Newstalk ZB

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