China over break­fast

Exporter - - EDITOR’S LETTER - Glenn H. Baker edi­tor@ex­porter­

For many peo­ple it has been some­what of a sur­prise to see the slow­down in Australia’s econ­omy over the past 12 to 18 months – while ours, by com­par­i­son con­tin­ues to per­form well. By the time you read this those ‘par­ity par­ties’ may have al­ready taken place. Although I wouldn’t put money on it. Ex­porters are hop­ing that the tough times across the Tas­man will be short-lived – oth­er­wise the im­pact on ex­port rev­enues will be­come too big to ig­nore.

How­ever, ex­porters that have man­aged to crack the China mar­ket, or have their sights set on it, should be pleased to know that the econ­omy there, while on a slower growth tra­jec­tory than the heady ten to 12 per­cent years prior to the GFC, is still track­ing along nicely at around six per­cent. That’s like an­other medium sized coun­try econ­omy be­ing added ev­ery 12 months.

At a re­cent Ex­portNZ break­fast in Auck­land, at­ten­dees were brought up to speed on the China op­por­tu­nity by for­mer am­bas­sador to China, Karl Worker, and ex-trade com­mis­sioner Mike Arand, who are both op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture. That’s re­as­sur­ing when you con­sider that China has now over­taken Australia as our big­gest ex­port mar­ket.

In a nut­shell, Worker says China’s out­look is one of sus­tained long-term growth. China wants our goods and ser­vices; they see New Zealand as a pos­i­tive trad­ing part­ner and a highly de­sir­able place to visit. There’s never been a bet­ter time to en­gage in the Chi­nese mar­ket, and in a high ‘value-added’ way.

Arand too, is full of op­ti­mism and points to the aus­ter­ity and anti-cor­rup­tion drive, the in­creas­ing aware­ness of food qual­ity, the de­mand for health­ier life­styles, the rise of e-com­merce, as just a few of the many fac­tors work­ing in our favour.

How­ever, while the new ad­min­is­tra­tion is mak­ing the tough de­ci­sions, Arand re­minded at­ten­dees that China is still a dif­fi­cult mar­ket to en­gage with. En­try is hard, with its con­fus­ing reg­u­la­tions, costly sup­ply chain and high mar­gins.

His ad­vice is to “get China fit”, and that’s based on the five P’s of Prepa­ra­tion, be­ing Present, Per­se­ver­ing, find­ing the right Part­ners, and in­still­ing that Pas­sion for your brand.

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