EDITOR’S LETTER Niche Marketing on Steroids

What is China’s likely impact on world competition and business? What will its economic emergence mean for New Zealand business? Where should our CEOs be shaping our future? Debate about China can generate more heat than light. In its worst moments it taps into underlying fears of loss of identity, autonomy and our nation’s ability to paddle our own waka on international waters.
Air New Zealand recently announced it is looking to shave $100 million in spending over the next five years by shutting its heavy aircraft maintenance operations. The company had tried and failed to convince other airlines we could do their maintenance for them. Sending the larger aircraft overseas for maintenance – both Asia and Europe have been mentioned – will save big bickies. It will also mean around 600 highly skilled maintenance workers will lose their jobs.
By the next morning National Radio’s Morning Report touched on fearful concern that laid-off workers unable to secure replacement jobs here could always go work in China. Affected individuals were struggling with the idea.
But China’s potential can represent opportunities of giddy proportions for New Zealand. tiny two to five percent slice of the market equals 25 to 50 million new customers. It’s niche marketing on steroids. Laughably huge by New Zealand standards. Chinese consumers are eager to buy new and different products, and New Zealand has solid international reputation – especially when it comes to consulting services.
So what should – and will – our place be in world that in, say, 10 years’ time is likely to be shaped very differently to how it is now?
CEOs of many of New Zealand’s organisations are assessing their options. Many are now making their moves. Whether China becomes our worst economic enemy or our new best friend lies partly – but not exclusively, of course – in their hands. In this month’s cover story we talked with the CEOs of five leading New Zealand organisations. All have different viewpoints on world that is increasingly focused on China. All are involved in or affected by changes there.
Over the next year Management magazine will continue to examine developments in China from management perspective. This is one monumental topic that is not going to go away.

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