China Business Summit: A Wake-Up Call – Overview

By Jan Bierman, Rare HQ

The second China Business Summit, hosted by the Auckland Chamber of Commerce and NZ Inc Ltd, was held on the 16 October 2013, at the Langham Hotel, Auckland. The focus of this year’s summit was on how New Zealand can lift its game in the wake of the Fonterra botulism scare, and on the changing China business landscape under the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

To set the scene Trade Minister Tim Groser, spoke of the trust relationship New Zealand has with China, fostered and strengthened over 40 years. This climate of trust has allowed New Zealand to do a number of novel things, but we have become victims of our own success, and the speed of expansion is pushing our capacity and resources. And, to do better we also need to become China literate. Liu Feng, Managing Director of Cosco, and Chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, saw the botulism scare was a testing time for friends, and the long-term impact on reputation and sales was not yet clear. New Zealand has a too perfect image and we are victims of our own creation. Now is a good time to reflect in the benefit of hindsight. Although a false alarm is better than no alarm, we are strongly reminded that it is food safety that matters most to the Chinese. ”If food has no status then a premium cannot be charged.”

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