Chinese may establish fund to invest in NZ tourism

By Fran O'Sullivan

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Shanghai Pengxin and Hong Kong-based Sailing Capital are considering establishing a fund to invest US$10 billion-US$20 billion in developing New Zealand tourism infrastructure.


Shanghai Pengxin chairman Jiang Zhoabai floated the prospect while visiting New Zealand and plans to talk to the Government about it.


During his recent visit to China, Prime Minister John Key said he believed it was possible tourist numbers from China could increase more than five-fold over the next five years to one million a year.


He noted there was huge potential from the Chinese tourism market, with Chinese President Xi Jinping having said there could be as many as 400 million Chinese tourists travelling abroad within five years.


The Government has made it easier for Chinese tourists to visit by extending the length of multiple-entry visitor visas routinely granted to independent Chinese travellers from 12 months to 24 months.


Jiang notes that New Zealand's immigration requirements might need to be changed to accommodate larger numbers of Chinese needed to service the projected big influx of tourist visitors from China.


The bilateral free trade deal between NZ and China allows for capped number of Chinese immigrants to work in designated areas here such as chefs and traditional medicine.


In the year to March 2012, tourism generated $9.6 billion revenue, 15.4 per cent of export earnings, 3.3 per cent of GDP and employed 6.2 per cent of the workforce.


Shanghai Pengxin is known here for its successful acquisition of the 16 former Crafar dairy farms.


In China, the company's reputation has been built on commercial property development.


It has built six five star hotels in China and has another seven under construction.


The Shanghai International Group, which is Sailing Capital's parent company, met Treasury secretary Gabriel Maklouf in Shanghai last September to discuss potential financial investment in New Zealand.

 

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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