Advisory firm growing fast
Queenstown businessman Shuangji Zhou proudly claims to be ‘‘Made in China’’ and spends his days helping tourism operators maximise business opportunities with his homeland, but when he arrived in the resort 10 years ago things were very different. Having moved to Queenstown with aspirations of capitalising on what he had identified as a ‘‘growing Chinese visitor market’’, Mr Zhou was constantly mistaken for being Japanese and felt he had little option but to park his business dreams. ‘‘When I came here no-one had noticed the growth of the Chinese market. Queenstown was not ready, from a business perspective, and I was often misaddressed as Japanese as people did not think I could be Chinese.’’ Frustrated by the slow response and ‘‘laid-back Kiwi’’ approach to business, Mr Zhou waited for almost seven years before launching his marketing and sales consultancy business New Dynamic. Three and a half years later, Mr Zhou counts tourism heavyweights Skyline, The Helicopter Line and AJ Hackett Bungy among his clients and has hired two fulltime staff. ‘‘I was willing to take the risk,’’ something he said he encouraged more kiwi businesspeople to do, particularly if they wanted to cash in on increasing visitor arrivals from Asian countries. ‘‘I think businesses in New Zealand are generally slow to respond . . . they need to look further ahead.’’ While translation of Chinese was part of his service, it wasn’t a key offering. ‘‘Anyone can do translation,’’ he said. Mr Zhou was more focused on ‘‘culture intelligence’’ and ensuring his clients maximised business opportunities by targeting potential markets in the best possible way. Businesses that failed to take a proactive approach to growing markets, including Indonesia and China, risked missing massive opportunities, he said. ‘‘My advice is to step out of the comfort zone . . . be more proactive, look for opportunities.’’ He also warned against stereotyping visitors and said it could be detrimental and ultimately prevent operators from doing what was best for business. ‘‘Look at visiting these places, not just for business and making money. ‘‘Learn about them and their people . . . Don’t be lazy. Don’t sit there and wait. We need to go out there and fight. ‘‘Queenstown is blessed so we need to be confident enough to fight for what we have got as a destination, fight for the business. ‘‘We are already blessed, there is nothing to lose.’’
Sound advice: Shuangji Zhou, at right, representing The Helicopter Line, introduces Rong Qing of Zhejiang International Co-operation Travel Service, Hangzhou, to some of the products offered by the company.