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The road to China is fraught with obstacles. The following winners of the Cathay Pacific NZCTA (New Zealand China Trade Association) Awards 2009 show how guts, sheer tenacity and innovation can break down Chinese walls.


The NZCTA Supreme Trade Award (sponsored by Cathay Pacific and HSBC)


Teknatool International Ltd

Category: Doing Business in China/Investor in China Award (sponsored by Mondiale Freight Services Ltd)

Winner: Teknatool International Ltd

Albany -based Teknatool has been manufacturing high-end power tool products since 1955 and exporting since 1980.  In 2005, it set up a manufacturing facility in Qingdoa to supply the Chinese and other export markets.

Initially, a 50/50 JV with a Hong Kong-based partner, Teknatool bought out its partner and now runs the facility as a 100% subsidiary.

An R&D division was introduced at the Qingdao facility, where 70 local staff and 2 New Zealand Engineers are employed.

Teknatool’s strategy is to mix the best of NZ and Chinese business and design practices at the Qingdao facility, where it plans to build a dedicated motor manufacturing plant for its new proprietary DVR technology motor.

Category: Best Importer or Exporter with China Award (sponsored by HSBC)

Winner: Absolute Foods Limited

Based in Whangaparaoa, this premium seafood products supplier first visited China in 1995.  It spotted an opportunity to create a market at the five star end of the hotel and restaurant trade in China after hosting a group of executives at the Shangri La Hotel there.

Its ingredients for success: keeping strong control of the entire supply chain to China, and working with a long-term local partner in China.

Through frequent visits to China, the company lends strong support to its local partner.  It also pays strong focus to creating brand awareness in China.

Absolute Foods currently has 100% market share in China and expects to double sales within 12 months.  It has taken it only three years to achieve the progress it made in China compared to over 10 years needed to crack its Japanese market.

Category: Business Excellence Award (sponsored by Cosco NZ)

Winner: Bio Vittoria

Bio Vitoria , the NZCTA Supreme winner in 2007, is based in the Waikato, and continues to operate effectively and innovatively in China.  Its JV factory in Guangxi Province processes Luo Han, a fruit, which in turn produces a zero calorie sweetener.

The resulting product is exported to multi-national companies based in USA.

BioVittoria established the Luo Han Grower Association, comprising some 5,000 growers and has doubled seedling plantings in each of the last three years. Its keys to success are its vertically integrated value chain from plant selection through processing to marketing; its strong focus on quality control and, as always required for China, its relationships with all stakeholders from grower to customer.

Category: Best Logistics Strategy for China (sponsored by Ports of Auckland)

Winner: Zespri International Ltd

Zespri ‘s huge success and economic impact is hinged on its expertise on moving kiwifruit from the grower in rural

New Zealand to the customer overseas.

It sells over $1 billion and around 100 million trays of fruit annually. Sales to China commenced in 1993 and by 2007 had reached five million trays.

Zespri has faced the challenges of inconsistent infrastructure, investing with supply chain partners to overcome the obstacles of presenting fruit throughout the market in good condition.

The underpinning principles of the Zespri system include total integration and documented traceability from grower to consumer. Amongst its key strategies, Zespri plans to source and sell Chinese fruit under the Zespri brand and to pack one million trays in China by next year. It targets to sell 15% of its crop in China by 2020.

Category: Best Use of Hong Kong by an NZ company for its business

Winner: Sonar Group HK (Orca)

Launched in 1995, Orca performance triathlon suits quickly made waves throughout the USA and Europe and were being worn by world class athletes.

Founder Scott Unsworth looked for production facilities around the world, but it wasn’t until 2003 he settled on Hong Kong as Orca’s strategic longterm base for product development, production management and logistics.  Since then the range has been expanded to include performance sportswear.

Production is mainly done in China, with global marketing, design and IP retained in New Zealand, and European sales handled from Orca’s office in London.

Orca says Hong Kong’s efficient systems and processes has made it an ideal hub to service clients around the world and fuel the company’s organic growth over the past six years.


BW Murdoch and Beca Group.

BW Murdoch

The judges commended the hard work, sheer tenacity and professional approach of process engineer BW Murdoch in setting up a WOFE (wholly owned foreign enterprise) in China to build dairy production plants.

Beca International Ltd

The judges commended the scale, geographical spread, use of local expertise and success in China of engineer and consultancy, Beca.


This award is the third in the series. Cathay Pacific was the prime sponsor and shared the supreme award with NZCTA. The supreme prize is a cash prize of $10,000 presented by NZCTA and a business class return trip for two presented by Cathay Pacific with other benefits in China arranged by Cathay Pacific and HSBC.


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