China Business Summit 2024 - key insights

Find out some of the Foundation team's key takeaways from this year's China Business Summit, held in Auckland on 20 May. The summit explored New Zealand-China economic, commercial and political relations.
Foundation CEO Suzannah Jessep speaking as part of a panel at the China Business Summit

Foundation CEO Suzannah Jessep speaking as part of a panel discussion that included Phil Turner (far left), Dr Henry Wang (second from right) and was moderated by Simon Bridges (right) 

The Foundation sponsored Dr Henry Wang as the summit's keynote speaker. Dr Wang, who is the founder and president of leading Chinese non-governmental think tank the Centre for China and Globalization, was part of a panel discussion titled 'How China is navigating complex international relations and the implications for New Zealand'.

The panel included the Foundation's CEO, Suzannah Jessep; forner New Zealand Ambassador to South Korea and former president China for Fonterra, Phil Turner; and was moderated by Auckland Business Chamber CEO Simon Bridges. 

Key insights from the summit:

  • Ten years on from agreeing the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, China remains an important trading partner for New Zealand, especially as New Zealand seeks to recover from covid losses and now double its exports in value over the next ten years. China has been an important stabilizer in the NZ trade balance.
  • China’s projected 5 percent economic growth rate presents plenty of opportunities for New Zealand business – in top-end products, but also in the likes of  gaming, sustainability, and the creative sectors.
  • More generally, in an increasingly competitive trading environment, New Zealand needs to be back in the region building relationships and look to target specific sectors based on niche comparative advantages.
  • Prime Minister Christopher Luxon emphasized that New Zealand’s economic strategy will continue to be defined by a “China and” approach. China is central to our prosperity AND New Zealand needs to develop its partnerships with other countries to keep pursuing growth and ensure New Zealand’s future economic security. 
  • New Zealand is not isolated from geopolitical trends and challenges. We need to make decisions informed by our own interest in a secure and stable Indo-Pacific.
  • NZ is exploring AUKUS Pillar II as part of its defence modernisation and according to its needs and interests. China’s Ambassador to New Zealand said any decision to support Pillar II would amount to “taking sides” and would contribute to destabilising the region.
  • The impact of major power competition – and especially the use of economic might to project power and reshape the international order - was having a disproportionate and destabilising impact on small/middle sized powers.

The Foundation's business programme supports New Zealand companies to better understand Asia so they can make the most of opportunities in the region. We are also focussed on growing the next generation of Asia-savvy business leaders.