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A revamped Fonterra Application Centre was opened in Guangzhou last week to support the co-op's growing foodservice business in Southern China.
An Application Centre was where the co-op tested and developed new products, Fonterra CEO for Greater China Teh-han Chow said.
"Guangzhou is part of this Greater Bay Area economic region in China, which is really growing quickly as the area for significant future growth," Chow told The Country Sport Breakfast's Miles Davis.
As a result, the Application Centre team had outgrown the existing premises, so an update was in order, Chow explained.
"We moved into a new facility and it's staffed by 10 chefs, who will service customers across nine provinces in South China."
The updated Application Centre meant Fonterra could also hold more than 70 large demos and 150 small demos each year, Chow said.
"This will be a really great enabler for our Greater China business, by helping us to bring our products to market faster and better."
The Guangzhou Application Centre had a New Zealand connection, as it was part of a network linked to Fonterra's Research and Development Centre (FRDC) in Palmerston North, Chow said.
"The FRDC team in New Zealand works really closely here with us in China to understand what our customers want, and sets about researching and developing products that helps to meet these customer's needs."
There were other Application Centres in Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu, and the co-op planned to open a new one in Wuhan this year.
Covid-19 disruption hadn't stopped Fonterra's New Zealand and China teams working together to bring interesting new products to the market, including three new ambient cream products, Chow said.
Collaborating helped the co-op respond quickly to new food trends.
"Together with FRDC we have a real focus on understanding what our customers want and how we can meet those needs. Our aim is to become the preferred innovation partner for our customers in China."
Fonterra had to keep up with the latest developments, so it could continue to create products that were unique to the fast-moving China market, Chow said.
"I think that's another exciting step for our Greater China business."