Shelf-cen­tred

Exporter - - EDITOR'S LETTER -

As I write this, people, on this side of the Tas­man at least, are up in arms over the de­ci­sion by the two big­gest Aussie su­per­mar­ket chains to strip New Zealand prod­ucts off their shelves in favour of Aus­tralian­made prod­ucts. Hardly in the spirit of AN­ZAC or CER, I would have thought, and by the time you read this hope­fully things will have blown over.

Such a move is not sus­tain­able tak­ing into ac­count the close, in­ter­twined na­ture of our two mar­kets, and the sheer num­ber of ex­pat Ki­wis now liv­ing in Aus­tralia.

It’s es­ti­mated that there are nearly 300,000 Ki­wis liv­ing in Aus­tralia on those ‘non-pro­tected’ Spe­cial Cat­e­gory Visas alone – but if you add on all the Ki­wis who mi­grated across the ditch in the years be­fore the visa came into force (my brother in 1984 for ex­am­ple, who still con­sid­ers him­self a Kiwi), then you have a con­sid­er­able per­cent­age of the Aus­tralian pop­u­la­tion who re­ally would pre­fer ac­cess to com­pet­i­tive New Zealand prod­ucts. And that’s not count­ing the many Aus­tralians who’ve ac­quired a taste for our fine fare over the years! I’m sure they won’t want their favourite brands taken away.

So let’s not get car­ried away with ‘tit-for-tat’ re­sponses (I did con­sider boy­cotting my lo­cal Count­down); hope­fully ev­ery­body will quickly see sense and choices will re­turn to the shop­ping trol­leys. In the mean­time, let’s cross our fin­gers that New Zealand F&B ex­porters will not be im­pacted too heav­ily. Commercial de­ci­sions like this one just don’t make sense.

Fe­bru­ary marked the be­gin­ning of the Year of the Horse, so in this is­sue we thought it timely to take a fresh look at the China mar­ket op­por­tu­nity – and pri­mar­ily through the eyes of people on the ground in Shang­hai who’re to­tally en­gaged in the ex­port sec­tor.

What this re­port re­veals is, yes China is still an in­cred­i­bly chal­leng­ing mar­ket, but more Kiwi firms are learn­ing how to con­quer it, and the op­por­tu­ni­ties are con­tin­u­ing to ex­pand.

If you’re look­ing to take on China – the Year of the Horse could well be per­fect tim­ing. Glenn H. Baker edi­tor@ex­porter­magazine.co.nz

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