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. China is Wellington’s largest international student market – and enrolments in the region have grown 25% since 2007.
Among highlights of a packed schedule over the next few days, Mayor Wade-Brown today (Tuesday 27 May) was due to attend a lunch hosted by JJL Overseas Education Consulting & Service Co – a Chinese Government-owned agency that provides consulting services to self-sponsored students wishing to study abroad.
JJL helps more than 1,000 students travel to New Zealand each year and has a strong reputation among Chinese students and New Zealand institutions.
Mayor Wade-Brown was to sign a memorandum of cooperation with JJL’s directors – this follows an increasingly close relationship between JJL and the Wellington education sector that has been strengthened over the past three years. JJL’s senior executives have visited Wellington three times in the past three years and this is the second formal civic visit to JJL in Beijing in the same period.
About 6,000 international students are based in the Wellington region – about 1,200 of them are from China.
Victoria University, Weltec, Whitireia, Wellington College, Wellington Girls’ College, Queen Margaret College, Wellington High School, Onslow College and Hutt Valley High School all have representatives on the China business delegation.
On Sunday, delegation members visited Wellington’s Japanese Sister City, Sakai, where a memorandum of understanding was signed by Education Wellington International (EWI) and Universities’ Consortium Southern Osaka (UCSO).
The signing was part of an education fair held by Education Wellington at Sakai City Chamber of Commerce. The event was well attended by students and parents interested in sending their children abroad for study in an English language environment. UCSO consists of 14 member universities and private members from 10 universities in the southern Osaka area.
The MOU was signed by Matthew Steele, Education Sector Manager at Grow Wellington and Dr Taketoshi Okuno, Chief Director of UCSO.
Wellington and Sakai already have an existing school exchange programme – about 20 school students (usually senior students) travel from Sakai to Wellington each year for a two-week programme. Wellington reciprocates. Sakai is looking to expand this programme as a result of the engagement of the schools at the fair on Sunday.
Japan is already the Wellington region’s fourth largest market with 463 Japanese students enrolled with Wellington education providers in 2012.
Tomorrow (Wednesday 28 May) Mayor Wade-Brown and the business delegation will attend a lunch to acknowledge key partners from Beijing. The lunch will enable business delegates to invite their own Beijing contacts to meet the Mayor and mingle with representatives from both the Beijing City Government and the State. Representatives from the New Zealand Embassy, NZ Trade and Enterprise and Education NZ will also be on hand.
Mayor Wade-Brown says achieving business success in China 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, as well as establishing new relationships that will result in business growth.
Other Wellington-based organisations in the China delegation include Gibson Group, ANZ Bank, Computer Power Plus, Carrickmore, The Formary, NZ Post, Wellington International Airport Ltd and ACG Yoobee School of Design.