Hamilton's ties with China's fourth largest city were confirmed yesterday, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Chengdu.
Mayor Julie Hardaker signed the agreement with a delegation from Chengdu. It is an updated version of one signed in 1996 between Chengdu and the wider Waikato region.
Ms Hardaker said it was strategically important for Hamilton develop its relationship with China.
"We've had a very important relationship with Chengdu over many years and by reaffirming our important city-to-city relationship, it provides opportunities for businesses and our education sector to further pursue initiatives of mutual benefit," she said.
China is New Zealand's largest source of foreign students, with about 40 students from Chengdu studying at Hamilton's Wintec campuses.
A Chengdu delegation was hosted by Wintec at a celebratory dinner last night.
Council customer relationships general manager Jason Dawson told the Waikato Times there were no direct costs to ratepayers by signing the agreement and minimal cost to hosting the delegation when they visit, such as a cup of tea.
The memorandum of understanding was driven from the private sector and encouraged by central government because there were links between New Zealand business and Chengdu, Mr Dawson said.
"In the Waikato, those ties are particularly strong with education and agriculture. The Chengdu government wanted to formalise a relationship with a New Zealand city, making it easier for organisations to do business. They chose Hamilton because of our existing relationship, and our current business relationships."
- Waikato Times