Industry, education impress Chinese visitor
A Chinese official believes Southland is the ideal place to do business, with great opportunities for education.
Chinese Consul General to Christchurch Madam Tan Xiutian met Southland local government and business leaders this week on her second visit to the region.
The meetings were organised by Venture Southland as part of an effort to increase trade and investment opportunities in the region.
Fishing, forestry, farming, food production, tourism and education were also priorities.
On Monday she visited the Sanford salmon and mussel farm on Stewart Island and yesterday she visited Stabicraft, Southland Quality Foods, Mayfield Elk Farm and Niagara sawmill.
Education in the region had impressed her because there were great opportunities, she said.
Southland was a safe and interesting place to live and pupils were encouraged to develop their talent, she said.
"At this point Southland has a stronger inspirational educational message..."
Education also linked in with other sectors such as tourism, which could create trade.
The Chinese were keen on Southland's high quality venison and dairy products.
Fish farming was one of the main industries in China and she suggested a representative from China would explore a joint venture.
She was also interested in the Venture Southland oats project.
"The Chinese care for their health and food is an important aspect of this . . . oats would be good," she said.
She was surprised and "amazed" to learn Southland's location was ideal for radio astronomy and tracking spacecraft.
A sister city relationship with Suqian in China was an opportunity for further co-operation, she said.
She was hopeful an Invercargill branch of the the New Zealand China Friendship Society would be formed, which would also forge links between the two countries.
Venture Southland enterprise and strategic projects group manager Steve Canny said China was New Zealand's No 1 export market and showcasing the region was a key part of attracting more business.
"We're presenting a cross-section of products and export industries that will, hopefully, stimulate some more trade," Mr Canny said.
Venture Southland chief executive Paul Casson said the visit showed the diversity of the region. It would be a good platform to develop further relationships, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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