Tourism and business partnerships could be forged as a result of a trip to China by Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks.
Mr Hicks attended the 2017 Chinese Enterprises Outbound Investment Conference, in Changsha, organised by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.
Following the conference, he attended investment summits and business forums in Wuhan and Beijing.
The vast opportunity for business or cultural relationships was underscored to Mr Hicks during the visit.
The trip showed the mayor how keen Chinese businesses were to form relationships with other countries including New Zealand.
“There were lots of opportunities for western companies and countries,” he said.
The growth in China was staggering and it was well planned and executed, he said.
“They’re very much on a growth curve.”
The railway network in China was an example of first-class infrastructure that was highly efficient, he said
The trains travelled at 300kmh and provided smooth rides, were easy to access and inexpensive, he said.
The wealthy in China were becoming richer and were keen to have a different holiday experience and New Zealand’s clean air, wide open spaces and lack of crowding appealed to Chinese visitors.
Mr Hicks arrived home with a long list of contacts to follow up on during the next few weeks.
While he did not expect immediate results, he was hopeful there would be some relationships formed with Chinese entities.
The tour involved in an extensive trip of China.
Not only were cities on the trip itinerary but also rural areas.
“It was really interesting to get outside the cities and see what China is like,” he said.
Meetings with heads of business, mayors, chamber of commerce and science and research institutions studying crops and forestry were just a few of the visits Mr Hicks was involved in.
He also met Mataura Valley Milk’s Chinese partners. The MVM plant is being built at McNab.
“They were very welcoming and it was good to cement that relationship.”
“For me, personally, it’s really opened my eyes of the potential of China as a potential partner for business in this part of the world.”