Groups eye China markets

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 11:02 23/11/2012
Business in China
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ
From left, Venture Southland chief executive Paul Casson, Southland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Richard Hay , NZ Ngauranga marketing and development Mirko Harnisch and NZ Ngauranga directors Alexander Steir and Thorsten Gebhard discussing small Southland businesses in China.

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Venture Southland and the Southland Chamber of Commerce believe a New Zealand-based company with major links in China could help small and medium and developing businesses in the region gain a strong foothold in the Chinese market.

Dunedin-based NZ Ngauranga directors were in Invercargill yesterday to discuss business opportunities in China for Southland businesses.

Venture Southland chief executive Paul Casson said the company held a strong position in Shanghai, which was the gateway to trade in China.

Small businesses often stayed away from China because of a lot of paperwork but NZ Ngauranga would be on hand to look after the technical side of doing business in China, Mr Casson said.

Several large Southland companies were already established in China but a new initiative was being developed with the company to ensure smaller business in the region could take advantage of the market, he said.

There was an urgent need for certain products in China, which many Southland business could fulfil.

The new initiative would look at food, beverage and health products businesses, he said.

The demand for new and current products in China was discussed at the meeting and investment opportunities were identified, he said.

The next step for Venture Southland would be to identify businesses in the region could take part in the initiative: ''Regionalism is key to this initiative because individual businesses will not be able to fill containers, we will need a charter of smaller operators to assist with the demand in cheese, sea food, health foods and sweets.''

NZ Ngauranga marketing and development manager Mirko Harnisch said Southland businesses focused on producing top quality products and had a reputation for being pristine, businesses could take advantage of.

Economies of scale could be an issue but that could be overcome by developing a cluster of companies to work together under an umbrella or regional brand such as those he had worked with in Otago, Mr Harnisch said.

It was an ideal time to move into China because NZ Ngauranga and its sister company Welnea were well established and could see the Chinese market was developing.

As the middle class population grew rapidly, businesses were diversifying and niches were developing, he said.

''This is where Southland producers come in with their high quality produce.''

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