Cinderella Shanghai + 75 ugly sisters

Ideal Shanghai [] 1

Agencies such as New Zealand Trade and Enterprise already did a ”fantastic” job in China. –John Christie, Otago Chamber

Dunedin was ”in the top 10” of Shanghai’s 75 sister-city relationships as a result of its relationship-building, and that provided a ”platform” to Dunedin businesses. –Cr Chris Staynes

### ODT Online Tue, 8 Apr 2014
Shanghai ‘Dunedin office’ idea debated
By Chris Morris
Dunedin could soon have a permanent presence in Shanghai as part of efforts to ramp up economic links with China, it has been suggested. The concept of a ”Dunedin office”, which already had support from the Shanghai Foreign Affairs Office, would aim to promote Dunedin’s education, tourism and business interests in Shanghai.

Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie, the head of Project Shanghai, hoped funding could be shared between the council and those who would benefit.

The idea was discussed at yesterday’s Dunedin City Council economic development committee meeting, as councillors received a report from Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie on the latest trip by a Dunedin delegation to Shanghai.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr



Filed under Business, COC (Otago), DCC, Economics, Geography, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, Property, What stadium

18 responses to “Cinderella Shanghai + 75 ugly sisters

  1. Stu

    Happy to see this develop, provided that Council involvement is at advisory/coordination level, not direct funding. It’s a model that has worked for other centres, and NZTE has some experience in establishing these kind of “beachheads”, particularly for technology companies.

    A funding model based on Chamber of Commerce/involved partners would be ideal. It might encourage some local companies to kickstart their links with Shanghai, which will become more and more important in the general scheme of things.

    • Mike

      Generally I agree with you the DCC has no place funding this on the other hand I think the COC is largely all talk and seems unwilling to put its money where its mouth is especially since most of those little startup companies that might benefit are not members.

  2. Whippet

    John Christie and the chamber would make a great socialists. Always wanting to do it with some one else’s money.

  3. Hype O'Thermia

    “I think the COC is largely all talk and seems unwilling to put its money where its mouth is” ? Or, Mike, are they smart enough to keep their own money in their pockets because the DCC is always ready to hand over ratepayers’ dough for glossy projects, and ill-informed nonsense like falling for the guilt trip of the “prisoner’s leg irons” .

    • Mike

      Yeah exactly I take this bit in the ODT as an attempt to squeeze more money from the DCC stone. It might have been doable back in the good old days but not with the current debt levels – time for the people who pushed to create all that debt to start standing on their own two feet

  4. Peter

    I wonder how we know we are in the top 10 of Shanghai’s 75 sister city relationships? Did they tell us this or are we guessing this? Even if we are in the top 10 that still seems to be a lot of competition for favours/good deals. Will have to google whom our competition is.
    Does Shanghai have a ‘door bitch’?!

    • Mike

      It’s probably more likely that most sister city relationships are low key sorts of connections (think Rotary, or school trips) rather than more pushy sorts of connections.

      In China it’s an interesting sort of issue – how do you tell if you are being too pushy? Do it too much and at some point people will go “oh not those people from Dunedin again, weren’t they here last month?” – but due to Chinese politeness they won’t tell you – you’ll get a somewhat passive aggressive sort of response you’ll probably show up and meet with some lower level person than you expected …. not much will happen.

      (this is a real problem doing business in China – saying “no” to a potential business partner is terribly impolite, because it causes a “loss of face” to the person that “no” is said to, they’re trying to help you save face by not putting you in that position …. one has to recognise the “maybe next week”, “sometime soon”, etc and push a bit harder to make sure you understand what they really mean …. I’ve had to sit down people I’m working with who understand that it’s different in the west, but still can’t bring themselves to be so impolite, and make sure they know I will not be offended)

  5. Tabled at the DCC Economic Development Committee meeting held on Monday 7 April 2014:

    Report – EDC – 07/04/2014 (PDF, 809.4 KB)
    Project Shanghai and China – February 2014, Delegation – Update

  6. Mike, could you not convey your understanding of the cultural habits to the Town Hall, or would it probably fall on deaf ears? It seems to me that Dave Cull, Chris Staynes and John Christie are infatuated by their own stunning achievements in Shanghai. It has always seemed to me a little bit like a tame poodle being tolerated as a playful nuisance to be pandered to, but not too far. Let’s hope it doesn’t all turn to custard.

    • Mike

      I’m just pointing out possible pitfalls, as I understand it they have local Mandarin speakers with them who (hopefully, if they’re first generation immigrants) would understand this issue.

      As I understand it most local (nth-generation Dunedin) immigrants speak Cantonese which is spoken in the south – not so much in Shanghai which speaks Wu – however everyone who needs to function widely in China speaks Mandarin – big cities like Shanghai have lots of immigrants from all over, Mandarin is the common language they all have.

      Dunedin is of course not the only NZ sister city of Shanghai, we’re right up there with Paeroa (and Chicago, San Francisco, Osaka, Oslo, Barcelona, Dubai, Prague, Istanbul, Sao Paulo, St Petersburg, Hamburg, Montreal, Milan, Marseille, London, ……).

  7. John P.Evans, concerned citizen

    Whatever happens Shanghai will win it has been the centre of commerce in China for hundreds if not thousands of years. The Chinese businessmen will geld the Dunedin neophyte who dares to make money on their patch and it has been shown already there are precious few jewels on the Dunedin table for Chinese entrepreneurs. If the DCC have not already stuffed any real Chinese investment in Dunedin, the general laxity, cost of doing business and DCC staff obstruction will kill any Chinese entrepreneurial spirit.

    • Mike

      I have to disagree, while I have no reason to do business in Shanghai, I do think that my experience of business in China (and Taiwan) is that culturally they have more invested in their customers doing well than westerners tend to have – it’s a long term view on business that I think is very healthy.

      Sure there are a few sharks, but there are everywhere, I don’t think there are really any more in China than here percentage wise, one simply needs to ease into a business arrangement carefully.

  8. Elizabeth

    JUNKET NOTICE — Look who is involved.

    Mayoral delegation travel and accommodation costs of about $18,000 are being met by the DCC civic budget.

    Dunedin City Council – Media Release
    Mayoral Delegation to Two Sister Cities

    This item was published on 24 Jul 2014

    A Dunedin mayoral delegation will visit two of Dunedin’s sister cities, Edinburgh, Scotland and Otaru, Japan, in late July and early August.
    Mayor Dave Cull, Cr Neville Peat and DCC staff support, Community Advisor – Arts Cara Paterson, leave for Edinburgh on 29 July. They depart Edinburgh on 6 August, with Cr Peat returning to Dunedin. Mr Cull and Ms Paterson will carry on to Otaru, being joined there by Cr Andrew Noone.
    The group will depart on 12 August for their return to Dunedin.
    Mr Cull received two invitations to journey to Edinburgh – one from Momentum, the Edinburgh Festivals International Delegates Programme partnership of British Council Scotland, Edinburgh’s Festivals, and Creative Scotland. The other invitation came from the Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, the Rt. Hon. Donald Wilson. The Lord Provost’s invitation celebrates this month’s 40th anniversary of the sister city relationship between Edinburgh and Dunedin.
    In conjunction with Creative New Zealand, the Momentum programme will host a large group of New Zealanders during Edinburgh’s Festival Month. DPAG Public Programmes Manager Robyn Notman is one of Momentum’s guests. Momentum is arranging much of the delegation’s Edinburgh itinerary, including a bespoke series of events and meetings within Edinburgh’s arts community. The group will visit “Where do I end and you begin?”, an international exhibition curated by five selected Commonwealth representatives including DPAG curator Aaron Kreisler. They will also attend a VIP Edinburgh Tattoo function, the Tattoo itself and engage in talks with the City of Edinburgh regarding possible future sister city activities.
    Mr Cull says, “This visit to Edinburgh is a timely opportunity for many reasons – Dunedin’s bid to join Edinburgh in becoming a UNESCO City of Literature, the genuine will of both cities to breathe new life into our sister city relationship, the keen local interest in revitalising Dunedin’s brand as a Scottish city, the sizeable Kiwi content of the Edinburgh festival month, the international interest shown in Scotland at the moment and, not least, marking the 40th anniversary of our sister city relationship. The meetings arranged by Momentum allow us to explore how we might be able to stimulate activity via some of our arts links, to benefit the existing sister city relationship between Edinburgh and Dunedin.”
    Mr Cull describes the visit to Otaru as a reaffirmation of an old sister city friendship. An Otaru delegation is expected to visit Dunedin in 2015 to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of the relationship. “The relationship began as a way of encouraging meat exports from Dunedin’s port to Otaru’s. Today the Dunedin-Otaru Sister City Society has become a focus for any Japanese in Dunedin and we have regular educational exchanges. In fact, while we are in Otaru, 10 students and two escorts from there will be visiting Dunedin.”
    This is Cr Noone’s second delegation visit to Otaru. With the assistance of Silver Fern Farms, he is arranging a barbecue event featuring Otago meats and wines. The Otaru delegation gifts will include Dunedin honey products.

    █ For details on Momentum visit

    █ For information on the City of Edinburgh visit

    Contact Dave Cull, Mayor of Dunedin on 03 477 4000.

    DCC Link

  9. Elizabeth

    Sister city trip costs come under fire
    The $18,000 cost, to be covered by the council, prompted Cr Lee Vandervis to see red at yesterday’s economic development committee meeting. He grilled council corporate services group manager Sandy Graham over the trip, ask-ing her to identify any examples of economic development arising from trips to the Japanese ”resort” of Otaru. ”We have had numerous visits. What evidence has there been of any economic development coming from it?” Cr Vandervis asked. ”I can’t answer that,” Ms Graham responded.

  10. Peter

    You would expect these trips to be justified for bringing good returns. There is no certain way of measuring the benefits. It is basically a ‘feel good’ factor…. in more ways than one. We may as well be honest about the value of these trips, which may very well be junkets, along with the occasional positive spin off for which we never hear about.
    Interestingly, Dave says the Edinburgh trip will ‘breathe new life’ into the relationship. Does he mean that the whole sister city relationship with Edinburgh had gone dead/comatose or is this trip seen as some kind of necessary boost, like CPR, to prevent death?
    We need to remember cities have multiple sister city relationships and we are not necessarily the most important relationship.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Peter asks if “the whole sister city relationship with Edinburgh had gone dead/comatose or is this trip seen as some kind of necessary boost, like CPR, to prevent death?” He’s onto something. Increasingly it appears that the council’s view of the city’s origins completely bypasses its Scottish settlers. If the erstwhile Early Settlers’ Museum needed an extra name rammed into the forefront, and I don’t think this was desirable since a plain descriptive name tells everyone, local and visitor, what it is, I’d have expected a Gaelic word, after all it was a “settlers'” museum not a “tangata whenua, people of the land (implying been here for-evahhhh despite having moved down to the peninsula only a few decades earlier)” museum.
      Perhaps Daaave & his merry band will come back with a few gifts of words to attach to various stuff around town. That’ll be well worth the cost of this junket.

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