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On Friday we wrapped up the current global situation as it relates to Kiwi exporters with our Export Recovery Series | Around The World In 60 Minutes

  • We covered the globe to provide a region by region assessment on the impacts to exporters and the optimistic markets.
  • We considered where to next – where are New Zealanders succeeding and what can we do better? 
  • We asked what are the great New Zealand exporters doing that we can learn from?

The panel was facilitated by Andy Mitchell, growth strategist at Katabolt, with industry experts from all over the globe :

  • Hamish Conway –  Sell Global
  • Mike Arand – NZTE, China Business Development Advisor 
  • Stu Webster – Attorney (USA), Pinecone One 
  • Kenneth Leong – ASEAN Business Council Chair 
  • Royal Reed – Prestige Law Founder 

Opportunities and pitfalls seem to be everywhere you look – but while things are raring to go, navigating the path so you don’t slip off at pace is still vital.

The panellists in this week’s Around the World in 60 minutes webinar all agreed that kiwi exporters need to move quickly and at pace to stay ahead in the export markets.

We’re in a situation where things are changing and they’re changing at pace. There is a feeling that we have to go into this with our eyes open because there is no easy route to take anymore. Some sectors are advancing and some are retreating – the only thing that is certain now is uncertainty.

Our key outtakes from the panel discussion:

  • MA: Customer demand in some Chinese market sectors are slightly down but will return to normal soon.
  • RR: We’re such a small player so whatever the China market is doing, our ability to take advantage of that is limited but also we are less impacted. The more creative and innovative your product or service is the less likely to be affected.
  • MA: NZ’s strongly positive reputation has helped the food and beverage sector. And that reputation has been enhanced due to our covid-19 management. Still has many opportunities to grow.
  • MA: Which sectors are holding China in an optimistic fate? Fresh food deliveries to the door. Health and Wellness sector i.e immune boosting products. Innovative manufacturing sector- bringing in solutions that add more value. Pet food. Services e.g. Les Mills.. Film has been impacted short-mid term but still many opportunities… The challenge is how we capitalize on those opportunities in a competitive market and when we can’t travel there at the moment.
  • KL: Across ASEAN – the long term prospects are bright and a couple of factors are quite helpful. Young populations, significant domestic market so recovery will be arguably quicker. Long term there is significant potential for NZ exports to look at ASEAN as a complimentary market to diversify into.
  • KL: International education sector –  The sooner we open up in a controlled manner the better. Significant demand for the education services in Vietnam and other countries. NZ’s competitors in that space, most of the other countries are not well placed to be able to offer service. We could get an advantage over our competitors.
  • SW: US MARKET: A lot of disruption to the food supply chain. There’s a real gap for NZ meat processors in nz to send products up into the US. The difficulty for them is in the logistics area with airlines being impaired the cost of shipping. Engineering construction – States opening up prematurely have gone gangbusters and order books are filling up again.
  • With limited travel options to get boots on the ground, NZ exporters will need to rely on existing networks and kiwis on the ground in the US to help out. Find trusted intermediaries e.g. distributors or family that they can use on the ground. You can waste a lot of time on zoom calls so you might as well focus on the few markets or areas you do have connections so you know you’re going to close deals.
  • RR: Closing and brokering deals – For traditional sectors, a lot of China organisations rely on very senior decision-makers so deals are being delayed until they can come and meet you. Some companies are putting in trial runs or agreements in a limited capacity – rolling out agreements in part and not in full.
  • MA: Exporters are rethinking the whole model. Previously we have been great at putting focus on innovative products but not so much on the business model. Now they’re thinking much shorter term than they were before. Looking at where are the areas in stronger markets and narrowing down the focus to 2-3 markets that we can crack.
  • KL: A lot of NZ companies are not set up to succeed in China. It is hard and getting harder. We are competing with local Chinese companies and foreign companies all looking to China and willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. Culture and psyche could be at odds with this.
  • For NZ exporters in the Chinese market – respond fast; on the spot and try to help your guys out on the ground to get the deal closer. Salespeople to create a buffer. Sometimes it’s taking a team approach. Learning from others that have successfully closed a lot of deals and seeing what’s changing. Find out how to scale at high speed.
  • MA: In general, if you’re dealing with markets in china and many markets around the world the competition is intense. Are we driving fast enough? Sometimes not fast enough. We need to be able to continually change and keep up and come up with the next product.
  • RR: It comes down to how we are positioning ourselves in terms of what is the problem, what is the draw card, what are we actually showing the market that we’ve got something different or better to offer?
  • KL: Massive constraint for NZ SME is capital. Bootstrapping is too slow. Capital helps accelerate success. MOVE AT PACE. We pride ourselves on quality, our strong NZ story, but for the importance of pace and how we supercharge things we need capital.
  • There is an opportunity to work together with the local chinese community with aspiring exporters to partner up. All of us need this to be in this together – let’s leverage capital and connection.
  • RR: Many of the immigrant investors are scratching their head looking to find something to invest in to make them a part of NZ and find something that is not
  • accessible to their market.
  • SW: Be light, nimble, versatile, do what kiwis do best and do it quickly. Respond within a reasonable time.
  • If you think it’s hard, it has the potential to become harder. We’re in a situation where things are changing and they’re changing at pace. There is a feeling that we have to go into this with our eyes open because there is no easy route anymore.
  • We’ll keep seeing flare ups so we need dynamic bubbles, so bubbles for a period and then they close. In the meantime we need to think more creatively within our current bubble. We have so many local domestic ethnic markets. There is an untapped potential of all those people to be entertained. Look closer to home.
  • MA: Despite what is going on at the moment the China market size is still going to continue. NZ produces what they’re going to need.
  • SW: There is no teflon bubble that would contain the US at the moment but that will be a temporary state of affairs. The way we’re going to cope in the meantime is connecting with people on the ground that can help NZ’s do what they do best.

If you need any help with the process of going to market: creating a plan, research, investing in capital, see the resources below or reach out to us at Katabolt!



NZTE | Regional Business Partner Network support –

NZTE | Export Essentials workshops –

NZ Export Credit Office – 

MFAT assistance – here for our Export Essentials Guides


On market, partner, channel selection  – Christopher Boys, Katabolt –

The Export Recovery Series team would like to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of our friends at Kea, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the New Zealand Export Credit Office at the Treasury for helping to make this series possible. Thank you.

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