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Event Review: Zoom into China (Session 2)

YA VIRTUAL SESSION 2 - Eastern China: Where NZ Businesses Are Winning, and Where They’re Not

Following the success of our first Zoom into China: YA Virtual Session, we invited Richard Dunsheath, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE)’s Shanghai Trade Commissioner to speak about where New Zealand businesses are winning and where they're not in the Eastern China market and to share his views on China's recovery from Covid-19. 

Richard has spent over 10 years amassing a wealth of experience in both public and private organisations in China, Australia and New Zealand. Before becoming the Shanghai Trade Commissioner, Richard held a variety of roles within NZTE, including roles as the previous Trade Commissioner of Guangzhou.

(Richard is usually based in Shanghai, but he spoke to us from Christchurch due to the lockdown in NZ. Also, a big congratulations to Richard and his wife for their new baby, such wonderful news!)

Richard started the session by providing a background of our strong relationship with China and reminding us of the importance of maintaining good cross border relationships:

  • China is our largest trading partner and largest source of foreign students and they are 5 times more likely to buy NZ goods when they have visited NZ.
  • China is the 4th largest travel destination for New Zealanders whereas the Chinese are the 2nd largest source of visitor arrivals to NZ.

Next, we really zoomed in on areas that NZ businesses are winning at in China:

  1. High level of sales in successful areas, i.e Les Mills, Zespri, Weta
  2. Engaging with Chinese partners
  3. Engaging local Chinese talents to join NZ businesses 
  4. Growing collaboration within the groups of successful Kiwi businesses in China
  5. Having their feet in the ground

As well as 5 areas for improvement:

  1. Look beyond entering the Chinese market through Shanghai or major cities as often there are many companies there and it is very competitive and costly. 
  2. Increased awareness of the differences between different regions in China and marketing to their different preferences
  3. Ability to adapt to the fast pace of China and move beyond the 5 day work week and 9-5 working hours.
  4. Relationship building is very important and in-absentia relationships will not do much for the business. More constant relationship building is encouraged.
  5. Building good relationships with the local Chinese government is important. 

(Here are some NZ businesses that are winning in the Chinese market, with some as a result of the COVID-19 situation! *Loud whisper*: you may be hearing from Les Mills in one of our future YA Virtual Sessions! So follow us on social media [FB, Insta or LinkedIn] to stay in the know!)

To round up the session, Richard shared a high level COVID-19 overview of the Chinese environment as well as the industries that are doing well due to the situation. While malls are back open, people remain cautious and fearful. Despite this, there is positivity that demand will increase soon and the IMF predicts that China will continue to have positive GDP growth in 2020. Gaming, video content, e-commerce are doing well in the COVID climate. Sales for honey and fruits which are seen as health products for immunity have been high in the first quarter of 2020. 

Notably, “wild caught”, traditionally a marketing gimmick for seafood products, has unfortunately become a less appealing selling point. The virus has also highlighted the importance of food safety and traceability in the future when doing business in China. 

We'd like to give a huge thank you to Richard for taking time out of his day to share his valuable experience and insights on areas that New Zealand companies are winning at or is needing improvement for doing business in China. Also a huge round of applause to David (bottom left in the first image) for the never seen before three language (English, Mandarin and Te reo) MC-ing in YA's event history! #Talented. We really hope all of our attendees found this session with Richard informative, and got a lot of new insights from it. We can’t wait to see you at our next session!

Did you miss out on attending Session 2? Do you also want to watch Session 1 in your own time? All recordings and presentation slides from our YA Virtual Sessions are available to YA Members, so signup for our membership now to watch Session 1 and 2 as well as our future sessions on demand!

EXCITING NEWS! Registrations for Session 3 of Zoom into China: YA Virtual Series is now OPEN. This session will be all about insights on New Zealand food startups, SMEs and corporates in China! Click HERE to find out more!

Event review written by Sichen Xi and edited by Han Li & Kathy Liu.

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