In September 2018, the North Asia CAPE led a business study tour for New Zealand technology companies (in the AI/big data/VR/AR business) to Hong Kong and the Chinese Greater Bay Area region. The study tour was organised by our Hong Kong partner, David Whitwam, Chairman of the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. David has been based in Hong Kong for 25 years. He organised an intensive schedule of visits over five full days, including visits to Cisco Systems, Xiaomi, eHang (a UAV and drone maker), NineD (a VR company), and various technology hubs.

The purpose of the tour was to introduce New Zealand firms to the Hong Kong and Southern China high-tech ecosystem, to showcase technology development, and perhaps help the New Zealand companies to identify co-development or channel partners.

The participating companies were positive about the experience, rating it highly. They were struck by the scale at which the companies were operating (‘unheard of in New Zealand’) and their speed of growth. One participant commented that the companies they visited ‘showed a very high level of expertise at R&D’, overturning his previous conceptions, and commented that ‘the government, the companies, and the universities seem to be developing a highly sustainable ecosystem of innovation’. Another said, ‘Visiting companies at the forefront of their sector was great. A key reason for us visiting was to see what others are working on.’

The CAPE plans to offer four business study tours to Hong Kong and southern China in 2019. The first one will take place in January, with an environment and sustainability theme.

Contact Laura Bunting for more information about the 2019 programme: l.bunting@auckland.ac.nz

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