21 Apr 2016

Hub aims to help NZ businesses in China

7:14 am on 21 April 2016

A Wairarapa-based wine and agribusiness company is leading the way for New Zealand businesses in China, by setting up an international trade centre.

Murdoch James Estate has been successfully exporting wine, wood products, meat and cherries to China for the past five years, and has set up a commercial retail complex and logistics park to help others do the same.

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Photo: RNZ / Demelza Leslie

The company's chief executive Roger Fraser said he had been lucky in that his business partner had very strong contacts in China.

But he said it was not so easy for others.

"It's quite lucky to get an introduction in this market and a lot of people have to work very hard to get a foot in the door," he said.

In the new hub called ZN Centre, businesses can sell their products through its retail shops or set up temporary offices for free.

Mr Fraser said it would also help coordinate imports and sales.

Mojo coffee, from Wellington, is the first business to move in.

Mojo founder Steve Gianautsos said he would not have considered China if it wasn't for the centre's help.

Trade Minister Todd McClay said China was a hard place to do business if you did not know people or the language.

"It's very easy to want to export from New Zealand to China, but to be successful can be a challenge."

"I often say to businesses in New Zealand that if you're finding it hard to do your business in New Zealand, what makes you think it will be easier overseas."

Mr McClay said the establishment of the ZN centre, and calls from the online site Alibaba for more New Zealand products are crucial in helping New Zealand businesses sell to China's 1.4 billion consumers.

The unveiling of the ZN Centre to a NZ business delegation.

The unveiling of the ZN Centre to a NZ business delegation. Photo: RNZ / Demelza Leslie