China Business Summit: 2018

Eyes Wide Open

The China Business Summit was jointly presented by NZ INC. and Auckland Business Chamber. The Summit was held on Monday May 14, 2018 at The CORDIS Hotel, Auckland.

The fourth iteration of this essential summit explored and tackled the big issues as the ties between New Zealand and China became deeper than ever before.

The Summit attracted a strong array of insightful speakers and set an agenda for discussion on the vital opportunities, challenges, and on-going changes in the China market.

The Prime Minister, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern gave the opening keynote address at the Summit.

Event photos




  • Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand

Q&A: Fran O’Sullivan

8.45 AM


  • Hon David Parker, Minister of Trade and Export Growth

NZ businesses faced a challenging time as the trade war between the United States and China gathered pace. Minister Parker shared the Labour Government’s approach to navigating this period, canvassed the upgrade of the Free Trade Agreement between China and New Zealand and changes to the foreign investment regime.




  • Ambassador Wu Xi, Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand


Two leading commentators on the impact of changes in the rapidly developing Chinese political and economic landscape.

China’s economic choices are critically important for the prosperity of the world at large, including of course New Zealand — where many export-facing businesses have placed many if not most of their eggs in the China growth basket. Our two China-based commentators explored the New Era in China; the business environment for NZ firms trading and investing in China and the potential fallout from the Game of Thrones between the United States and China.

  • Raymond Yeung, Chief Economist, ANZ Greater China
  • Rowan Callick, China-focused author and columnist

Chair: Fran O’Sullivan


The New Zealand political landscape: What does it mean for business, trade and investment with China?

This session debated what the new NZ landscape meant for firms doing business with China. We asked: What strategies should companies employ as NZ ‘dances with the elephants of global trade’? What are the opportunities associated with the upgrade of the bilateral China-NZ FTA? Does the debate over the extent of China’s soft power which has engaged Australia and the United States have the potential to spill over to New Zealand. How has bilateral investment between China and NZ developed since the bilateral free trade agreement was signed 10 years ago?

  • Charles Finny, Partner, Saunders Unsworth (former NZ trade negotiator)
  • Todd McClay, National spokesperson on foreign affairs and trade
  • Stephen Jacobi, Executive Director NZ China Council
  • Pip McLachlan, Director Engagement and Research, Asia New Zealand Foundation
  • Ivan Kinsella, Special Adviser (China) to NZTE

Chair: Fran O’Sullivan, Managing Director, NZ INC.


Cross Border Investment and Trade

Case studies from New Zealand and Chinese pathfinders. We looked at the on-the-ground realities for significant New Zealand and Chinese companies investing and trading in each others’ markets.

  • David Courtney, Chief Growers and Alliances Officer, Zespri
  • David W. Song, Managing Director, Yashili New Zealand Dairy
  • Keith Turner, Chairman, Fisher & Paykel Appliances
  • Tom Nickels, Managing Director, Waste Management New Zealand

Chair: Paul Goodwin, Managing Director, Institutional NZ – ANZ


KEYNOTE ADDRESS: The rise of new retail.

  • Maggie Zhou, Managing Director of Alibaba Group Australia & New Zealand

Maggie Zhou, Managing Director of Alibaba Group Australia & New Zealand, discussed Alibaba’s strategy, the rise of new retail and the opportunities for New Zealand businesses in China. New Zealand has an enviable reputation as the source of many high-quality organic goods, ranging from dairy, meat, fruit and wine, to skincare and health supplements. Nowhere are these goods more popular than in China’s growing consumer market. With more than 400 New Zealand brands selling on Alibaba’s B2C platforms and Tmall Global, Zhou discussed the incredible opportunity for New Zealand businesses in China, (enabled by Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms) as well as how the rollout of Alibaba’s ‘Five Globals’ strategy that were to enable Alibaba Group to work more closely with New Zealand merchants and partners in the region to enable further success in China. Following Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival in November 2018 – the largest and most anticipated online and mobile shopping festival in the world – Maggie also discussed the rise of New Retail as Alibaba Group continues to pioneer changes to the way consumers in China shop. Maggie discussed the introduction of new technologies to the traditional retail experience, where customers explore ‘smart stores’ and make use of facial recognition technology and virtual/augmented reality.

Chair: Michael Barnett, CEO, Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce


  • Lukas Paravicini, Chief Operating Officer Global Consumer & Foodservice, Fonterra


Digital Innovation and Marketing: Lessons from the frontline on how NZ companies can leverage China’s rapidly developing market.

We learned how China – the cradle of innovations such as print and fireworks – was being put to the test by companies such as Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba – world leaders in the field of digital innovation and artificial intelligence. We heard from New Zealand companies on how they embraced digital technologies to stay at the forefront in doing business with China in fields ranging from a prospective virtual airport terminal, to smart retail for NZ consumer goods and leveraging the rapidly growing Chinese tourism market.

  • Malcolm Johns, CEO, Christchurch International Airport
  • Gavin Yang, Managing Director, TradeMonster
  • Avi Golan, Chief Digital Officer, Air New Zealand

Chair: Tim McCready, Director of Innovation, NZ INC.


Harnessing China’s growth and expertise.

China’s flagship initiative Belt and Road Initiative provides opportunities for New Zealand companies to leverage China’s increasingly physical, economic, and financial connectivity with the world. Auckland’s massive population growth has also been met with a need to build infrastructure at a rate far greater than the city can currently sustain. We asked a panel of experts: Are there business opportunities available to leverage New Zealand’s links with China to finance and build large scale projects and catch-up on the infrastructure gap?

  • Colum Rice, Partner and Head of China Markets team, PwC NZ
  • Wee Li Cheong, Director Financial Institutions Group, Bank of China
  • John Dalzell, Managing Director, Silk Road Funds
  • Karen Hou, Chief Executive, ICBC New Zealand
  • Stephen Selwood, Chief Executive, Infrastructure New Zealand

Chair: Michael Barnett, CEO, Auckland Chamber of Commerce


Winners and War stories: Lessons from New Zealand SMEs that have successfully built business with China.

NZ firms gave us a taste of what is it like to “jump into the river” and forge successful business with China. They answered the questions: What are the strategies panellists have employed? How did they make the right connections and partnerships, protect valuable IP, and overcome obstacles on the route to success?

  • Justin Hall, Chief Executive Officer, Smartfood
  • Simon Harding, Chief Executive Officer,  NZ Mint
  • Angela Buglass, Chief Executive Officer, Trilogy
  • Roy Dawson, Seafood Export Manager, Kono

Moderator: Mike Arand, China Business Development Advisor, NZ Trade & Enterprise



  • Summit Co-chairs Michael Barnett and Fran O’Sullivan

Prize Draw



With Mayor of Auckland Phil Goff who as a former Trade Minister in the Helen Clark Labour Government inked NZ’s 2008 free trade agreement with China and maintains a strong interest in the benefits his city gains from a strong China relationship. Mayor Goff was introduced by Ateed CEO Nick Hill.

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