Delegation Opens Doors for City
By Dougal McGowan, OCCI, Chief Executive | Posted: Thursday September 1, 2016
Recently, the Otago Chamber of Commerce joined Enterprise Dunedin, the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic on a trade and education visit to China.
Also joining the delegation were four
inbound tourist operators and two local businesses. This visit was part of the
Dunedin Economic Development Strategy, Project China, convened by the chamber
as part of the Grow Dunedin Partnership.
Too often we are asked what value these trips are, so I thought I would highlight just some of the value for our city, its people and our economy.
The recent trip of 18 days included six cities (Qingdao, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Qingyuan and Hong Kong), six days of travel and 50 meetings.
The project’s efforts lie in promoting our city’s tourism, trade, technology, business and education as well as environmental and investment opportunities. It is also charged with supporting, and being supported by, cultural and civic activities.
If we look at education, there are more than 1000 Chinese international students in the city, about one quarter of all international students. For secondary students, this equates to a spend of about $26,000 per student per year, and for postgraduate students, about $46,000 per student per year.
There are seven sister-school relationships between Dunedin and China, enabling student cultural exchanges.
There are regular academic exchanges and co-operations as well as visiting delegations, and the university ’s recent signing of a Doctor of Business Administration with Shanghai Jiao Tong University all bring benefit to the local economy.
These have resulted in the Confucius Institute offering Mandarin facilitation here in our local schools and the university.
The Dunedin Chinese Garden, Lan Yuan, is a permanent reminder of the strength of our relationship.
Chinese tourism continues to be one of the fastest growth sectors with more taking up the free and independent travel option, which means more bed nights for the city.
Education tourism continues to grow, with families visiting the country while looking for education prospects for their child.
Otago has businesses engaged in the China market. Silver Fern Farms has a strong presence, NHNZ has major content contracts, and Fisher & Paykel’s design centre is maintained in Dunedin, even though it is now owned by Haier. Food and beverage providers in the market include Southern Clams, the New Zealand Honey Co and Whatbox, to name a few.
Collaboration with key sectors of business, education and research and development help maximise Dunedin’s growing presence in the China market. We expect further growth in the breadth and depth of both civic and business level commitment and this will flow into our local community.
These delegations open 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. The chamber has created export and China business passports courses to support business to succeed in exporting and doing business in China.
This is just one way in which the whole city working together is going to make a difference.
If you are interested in exporting to China or wish to find out more, call the Otago Chamber of Commerce on (03) 479-0181.