China business experts announced for Christchurch forum


Two international China experts will speak at this year’s South Island Lantern Business Forum – aiming to help businesses take a strategic view of opportunities presented by the China market.

Duncan Innes-Ker

The second annual South Island Lantern Business Forum is being held on 9 March and is run by ChristchurchNZ, in partnership with Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce. It is aimed at all business and organisational leaders that work with or intend to work with China – particularly those from the export, tourism and international education sectors.

The international keynote speaker for 2018 is Duncan Innes-Ker, The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Regional Director, Asia & Australasia. Duncan, who is based in Hong Kong and a frequent commentator for news services such as the BBC and CNN, will speak on the way in which key policies and customer trends in China will shape how businesses will interact and engage with the Chinese Market.

Also speaking is Dr Bill Liu, a millennial and successful founder and CEO of Royole Corporation – a Silicon Valley, Hong Kong and Shenzhen-based company that develops rollable displays for smartphones, mobile devices, computers and televisions. Sponsored by the Bank of China, his presentation aims to demystify the maze of investor funding and financing options available for companies wanting to make the big leap to manufacturing in China, with a focus on how technology can help.

Following the forum are open workshops with an operational emphasis, covering relevant topics such as successful market entry strategies for China, the changing Chinese traveler and New Zealand’s path to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. They are outcome focused and will provide key takeaways for attendees to implement within their own businesses.

ChristchurchNZ General Manager of Attraction Linda Falwasser said there was fantastic feedback after last year’s fully subscribed business forum, cementing its place as an annual event in the city.

“More businesses are starting to work in the China market, or are starting to see the opportunities that exist by tapping into it. Attendees at the forum and workshops get to network, collaborate and learn ways to build business capability – which is ultimately a great thing for Christchurch’s growing relationship with China.”

China is New Zealand’s biggest market for export growth and an increasing source of foreign investment, and student and visitor attraction for the country. It is critical to exports leaving from Christchurch, with 22 percent of these in 2017 heading to China at a value of $1.57 billion. Exports to China grew by 9 percent from 2016 to 2017.

Christchurch Airport is also the country’s fastest growing entry point for Chinese visitors.

Statistics show the airport’s Chinese visitor arrivals grew by 59 percent in December 2017. In that month there were 2,144 more Chinese visitor arrivals, accounting for more than 60 percent of the total increase for the whole of New Zealand.

Forecast Chinese arrivals for the month of February are for up to 6000 visitor arrivals which is a growth of 50 percent compared to February 2017. This equates to an additional $7.5m in visitor spend (based on the average spend of $3800) as those visitors spread out across the South Island.

  • The South Island Lantern Business Forum will be held at the Transitional Cathedral in Latimer Square, on Friday 9 March, from 7.30am-9.30am, followed by workshops later in the morning
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