The director of a large agribusiness firm says exporters know very little about New Zealand's most important trading partner.
Annualised two-way trade between New Zealand and China surpassed $20 billion for the first time in May this year. A free trade deal between the two countries came into force five years ago.
Scales managing director Andy Borland said the growth in sales had been fantastic, but exporters lacked knowledge about the market and a physical presence on the ground.
In a bid to combat the problem, a group of six exporters, including the Mr Apple business owned by Scales, are joining forces to set up headquarters in Shanghai, giving them access to in-market services, administration and support staff. They are sharing resources to save on set-up costs.
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise already runs a custom-designed business and events centre in Shanghai but Mr Borland said much more was needed.
He said the connectivity in China is not what it should be in terms of New Zealand's businesses contacts and understanding of the market.