Building Links with China
By Dougal McGowan, OCCI, Chief Executive | Posted: Thursday July 7, 2016
The recent whole of city China delegation, which targeted new and developed essential partners of the city, continues the work stream from the Dunedin Economic Development Strategy initiative Project China, which is convened by the Chamber as part of the Grow Dunedin Partnership.
Led by Mayor Dave Cull, the delegation included representation from Dunedin City Council, University of Otago, Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin Shanghai Association, various local businesses and national organisations, four local inbound tourism providers, along with the Otago Chamber of Commerce.
The 19-day visit to six cities (Qingdao, Beijing, Shanghai, Qingyuan, Guangzhou and Hong Kong), included more than 47 meetings — promoting our city’s tourism, trade, technology, business, education, and environmental and investment opportunities. It also had a core focus on highlighting and supporting cultural and civic activities.
One of the benefits from these visits is increased promotion of Dunedin as a destination for quality education. Last year alone, more than 1000 Chinese international secondary and tertiary students studied in Dunedin, which brings both economic and cultural benefits to our city.
This important relationship with educational providers and Study Dunedin now extends to include George Street Normal School which has recently signed a MoU with No 1 Gao’an Road Primary School in Shanghai — the first primary school sister school relationship with Shanghai.
International students and educational tourism are expected to double by 2025 and provide the city and its outstanding education institutions with much needed financial benefit as well as adding to the potential employment and talent pool.
The delegation reinforced the growing connections that will further foster export and business opportunities. It emphasised the value of a collaborative citywide approach which focuses on multiple economic platforms and the full package of benefits that our great little city has on offer. In a short period of time we made significant progress that will have long-term and ongoing benefits for exporters, importers, businesses, technology and education.
Developing these relationships is vital and opens the doors for many of our businesses and the city as a whole. The key now is to try to maximise the benefits of these opportunities and leverage from them. The chamber supports businesses being better prepared for exporting and in particular exporting and doing business in China, by creating export and China business passport courses, which will aim to improve the ability of businesses to succeed in these environments.
This is just one of the many initiatives that have been established through Dunedin’s Economic Development Strategy, which sees stakeholders collaborating for the betterment of the city. Please feel free to contact us at the chamber if you or your organisation is looking to take advantage of the opportunities that exist in the export or import sector.