August 2018 Issue: Our Crazy Rich Expectations

This month sees the release of Crazy Rich Asians, the first major Hollywood film in twenty-five years to feature an all-Asian cast. While we are the NZ China Trade Association, the release of this movie is as important as any event happening this month. Simply put, movies have a big cultural impact, and there hasn't been one "for us" in a generation.

Many may see Crazy Rich Asians as just another conventional rom-com, yet its mere existence is already a cause for celebration in an industry with a history of whitewashing and yellowface. Others may see the lifestyles portrayed in the film as unrepresentative of the typical Asian experience - and they would be right. This, however, is an unfair criticism. It's unfair to expect Crazy Rich Asians to be a movie that is everything for every AsianWhite movies don't need to represent the whole of the white cultural experience. Unfair or not though, Crazy Rich Asians will probably be judged in such a way. We're nervous to see how it does.

In other news, discussion on China’s increasing influence in the Pacific has continued. The Lowy Institute has said that China's influence in the region is "overstated", something our foreign minister agreed to disagree on. China has been exerting its soft power by providing loans and "no strings attached" aid in the region, though with Australia and New Zealand still collectively responsible for 55% of Pacific aid, it's murky who has the real influence.

Aid to the islands has been declining in general with reduced aid from the traditional Western powers. Organisations such as the Asian Development Bank have attempted to cover the gap aiming to ‘triple investments over the next five years’. With China's investments in the Pacific showing no signs of stopping, it will be interesting to see how things develop.

#1. Upcoming Event: NZ China Innovation Forum 2018: Can NZ Really Compete?

Do you know what it takes to succeed in China?

Join us for a night of discussion about the NZ China innovation landscape, as well as a great opportunity to network with others interested in China.

The team at YA have secured an incredible line up of speakers including Andrew Grant, the global head of McKinsey's Public Sector team; Kenneth Leong, who has collaborated with Karen Walker on face-masks and Angus Brown, who helped spearhead New Zealand food products into China.

Tickets have just been discounted thanks to James & Wells and won't last long!

Register and more info here. Follow our Facebook Event for more updates here.

#2. Past Event: Building Brands in China

We recently hosted our (sold out!) Branding in China event, which explored how New Zealand businesses can best adapt their branding, social media and marketing strategies to succeed in the ever-evolving Chinese market.

Olivia Shen (Head of International Marketing at Vodafone NZ) and Mike Arand (NZTE Business Development Advisor for the China Region) shared their business insights. Olivia spoke about how multinational foreign brands have used marketing campaigns to break into the Chinese consumer market, while Mike spoke about the success and failures of branding campaigns in China and gave valuable tips for how Kiwi brands can start their approach China. Both speakers explored the complexity of Chinese consumer tastes and the nimbleness needed in approaching social platforms for e-commerce.

Check out the photos from the event here.

#3. Business Desk: How E-Commerce is Transforming Rural China

This is a super fascinating article from the New Yorker exploring how e-commerce is transforming rural China at both a micro and macro level. What brings the article alive is the reporter following the lives of those affected by the transformations, from a delivery man in Xinhuang, to the CEO of (the second biggest e-commerce company in China). The reporter's own personal anecdotes about her childhood in China also illuminate the story and bring into focus the sheer scale of the changes happening. For once, the use of "transformational" change isn't a hyperbole.

Read it here.

#4. Culture Desk: 27 Things Kiwi-Asians Deal With On The Daily

If you are a Kiwi Asian (or have Asian heritage, or are identified as an Asian coz of your “looks”) you are often asked stuff the majority in Aotearoa don’t get asked. From mundane questions like “where are you from?” (why is it so hard to accept that I am just another JAFA??) to more important questions like “where are you REALLY from” (just ask what my ethnicity is, mate), the stuff we hear often makes of patience wear then. Albert Cho (from @eatlitfood fame) runs through a gauntlet of the most common stuff in this list. Can you relate to any or all of them? If not, then "where are you REALLY REALLY from"?

Read it here.

#5. Affiliated Event: Asia Savvy Conference 2018

Our friends at Asia Savvy have opened registrations for their annual conference in September. This year's conference explores the fields of social entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility.

The YA has attended a number of Asia Savvy conferences in the past and have found them to always have insightful discussions, and plenty of opportunities to network with people of similar interests. As always, the conference is free to attend, only requiring submission of a short essay.

Register and more info here. Press going on their Facebook event here.

Have an idea or opportunity you would like us to offer? Would you like to be part of the Young Associates? Have general questions/comments? Let us know below!

Editors: Han Li, Min-Ji Yang and Miji Lee

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