Capital's Businesses Set Sights on Asia

19 May 2014

Growing Wellington’s education market is a key focus for the Capital, which aims to boost its share of the lucrative international market with a Mayoral-led mission to China and Japan.

Thirty organisations, including businesses and education providers, will join a delegation to China and Japan led by Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and Councillor Jo Coughlan, Chair of Council’s Economic Growth and Arts Committee, which departs this week.

“I’m really looking forward to renewing the formal local government ties and opening the door for Wellington businesses to create partnerships in China and Japan,” says Mayor Wade-Brown.

“Achieving business success in Asia is helped by forming strong connections. Political leadership is important in helping open doors for our businesses. This delegation will strengthen existing relationships with partners and customers in China and Japan, as well as establishing new relationships that will result in business growth.

“This year’s delegation has a significant focus on the education sector, in which Wellington is actively growing the market share of international students in New Zealand,” she says.

China is Wellington’s largest international student market, and Japan is Wellington’s third largest international student market – with enrolments in the region growing 25% since 2007.

Councillor Coughlan says that the delegation will benefit the whole of the Wellington economy through better and stronger international business relations.  “We want to build on the success of previous delegations to promote Wellington as a great place to study, visit, live and do business,”

“Many of our business partners on the delegation are market-ready with products and services, and Council is eager to share the contacts, opportunities and knowledge with other local businesses – many of which we hope will join us on future delegations,” said Cr Coughlan.

Organisations joining this trip, which departs on May 22, include Gibson Group, Victoria University, ANZ Bank, Computer Power Plus, Carrickmore, The Formary, NZ Post, Weltec, Wellington International Airport Ltd and ACG Yoobee School of Design.

Victoria Spackman, CEO of the Gibson Group, says, “We’ve enjoyed success from previous mayoral delegations to China, which is why we are planning to go again. Our presence on the trips has led to work that we wouldn’t otherwise have secured and has helped us grow our presence in China. This helps us reach our ambitious export growth targets.”

A number of local secondary schools, including Wellington College, Wellington Girls’, Queen Margaret’s, Wellington High and Hutt Valley High have also signed up for the delegation.

Delegation tour highlights


  • May 21 - Mayor Wade-Brown visiting Hiroshima Peace Centre.
  • May 23 - Signing a cooperation agreement with NEC Corporation, who also run a Technology Innovation Centre here in Wellington; Wellington/Christchurch education/business networking function at New Zealand Embassy.
  • May 24 - Education meeting with Nakato City Government at Mojo café in Tokyo.
  • May 25 - Education Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony with South Osaka Univeristies’ Consortium.
  • May 25 - Wellington Education Fair at Sakai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
  • May 26 - Meeting with Sakai Mayor Mr Osami Takeyama and 20th Anniversary Sister City Celebration at Harvest Hill.


  • May 28 - Attending China International Fair for Trade In Services (CIFTIS).
  • May 28 - Meeting with Mayor of Beijing (Wellington’s sister city), Mr Wang Anshun.
  • May 28 - ‘Wellington Day’ event at World Tourism City Experience Centre.
  • May 29 - Signing cooperation agreement with Chinese Ministry of Culture.
  • May 29 - Meeting BYD Company and taking a test drive on an electric bus.
  • May 30 - Meeting with Party Secretary of Zhejiang (Four cities and districts in the Wellington region have Strategic Economic Partnership with Zhejiang Province), Mr Xia Baolong.
  • May 31 - Kea business networking event at New Zealand Central.


  • June 1 - attending World Cities Summit, speaking on the topic of building resilient cities and also participating in a CNBC discussion.