High-profile Chinese investors and Kiwi tech companies came together recently to work out how to better promote, connect and engage the New Zealand tech sector with the China market.
The Hi-Tech Summit, organised by the China Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand, Bank of China New Zealand (Ltd), the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund and supported by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, started with a networking conference on Monday October 16 and followed on with motivated Chinese investors visiting New Zealand tech companies.
Bank of China CEO David Lei Wang said: “New Zealand punches well above its weight on technology and innovation but only a handful of people in China would know. New Zealand is a small market but it is important to raise awareness of what is happening here. There’s a real opportunity for technology companies in New Zealand in the Asia market.”
Panellist Mark Templeton, CEO of New Zealand company Aeroqual Limited said: “China is now leading edge. Partnering up and scaling up is crucial. We need to have a new mind-set about China. Smart cities are more advanced than anywhere in the world and we need to be there to partner. Chinese investment in new technologies like clean tech; solar power; electric vehicles is just phenomenal.”
Mitchell Pham, Chair of NZTech and FinTechNZ, Director of Augen Software Group and Kiwi Connection Tech Hub, said: “We just can’t ignore the Asian market. China and Asia should be on our business roadmap. Partnership is crucial as China investors have connections and access to target markets. They understand the business environment. You need to ask yourself where are your core strengths and capabilities in your strategy? There is no room for DIY in China or the Asian market.”
Demonstrating how small kiwi companies could scale up for the massive market was also a key part of a deliberate strategy, Pham said. “Be direct about what your investor or partner can bring, not just money but connections and networks,” he advised.
Attendee Dr Will Barker, CEO of Mint Innovation said: “China is the number one market for many New Zealand tech developers and direct investment will bring a number of significant benefits. China investors often facilitate market access and provide a scale of investment that just cannot be found easily in New Zealand.”
The summit is part of Bank of China New Zealand partnering with technology membership body NZTech to tell the story of New Zealand’s innovation in technology in Asia.
Bank of China New Zealand and NZTech are working together to promote, connect and engage the New Zealand tech sector with the China market – not just to seek in investment capital from China but also, just as importantly, connections into the market, both ways.
Jason Li, representative from Top 50 Venture Capitalist Delta Capital said: “There are great opportunities for two-way investment. The challenge for New Zealand companies is how to stand out in China when there is so much global competition.” He said it wasn’t just an issue of money but that more high-tech funds were needed.
This was backed up by Taiwanese investor and inventor Jeffrey Hsu who had a number of suggestions to attract Chinese capital to New Zealand including setting up a high-tech patents exchange and a high-tech zone so that sources of patents, software and high-tech products would be more recognisable.
Mr Hsu also called for more effective promotion of New Zealand’s high-tech products and capability.
This is the fifth China/New Zealand event that Bank of China has held bringing together more than 100 companies with Chinese investors. Other events have featured agribusiness and tourism.
Bank Of China New Zealand is committed to playing a role in bringing the Belt and Road Initiative to life and building people to people contacts so both New Zealand and China businesses can benefit from each other.
The six investors in attendance at the summit included:
1. Huawei Feng, Managing Director of SV Capital, one of the most well-known angel investors in China who has supported over 30 companies in China.
2. Jeffery Hsu, an inventor on several patent rights and a Vice-President of the E United Group in Taiwan with revenues of US$2.5 billion in 2016.
3. Jason Li, representative of Top 50 Venture Capitalist Delta Capital who have been part of listing 14 projects in the Chinese capital market and internationally.
4. Alex Zheng, Chairman of Co-Win Capital.
5. David Wang, Chairman of Zino Fund II and Zino Innovation Hub
6. Xin Liu, Chairman of Xinchen Investment