Exciting business links with one of the world’s most powerful emerging economies are the legacy of Auckland’s week of meetings with more than 40 influential Indian business figures which coincided with India’s ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 match at Eden Park last Saturday.
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development’s (ATEED) strategy to develop business connections created by major events culminated in leveraging opportunities centred on the India New Zealand Business Council’s (INZBC) two-day summit in Auckland.
The business meetings were held in partnership with INZBC and specialists at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and Sport New Zealand - the delegations of Indian company executives were led by the Confederation of Indian Industries, ETI Dynamics, and JCurve.
Many of the delegates are involved in Auckland’s key growth sectors including information and communications technology, screen and digital, international education, food and beverage and high-tech manufacturing.
ATEED chief executive Brett O’Riley was part of the Auckland team which met the delegates, and says numerous examples have already emerged of connections which should lead to a long-lasting economic legacy for the region.
“Auckland’s enviable combination of a growing high-tech economy and amazing lifestyle really impressed our Indian guests,” he says.
“ICC Cricket World Cup created a gilt-edged opportunity to introduce Auckland to wealthy Indian tech entrepreneurs, investors and companies – some of whom previously knew little about us.”
According to O’Riley, Auckland is now very much on the of Indian tech companies radar.
“One magnate who was shown around Takapuna is keen to explore developing a mixed-use precinct amid the growing ‘Techapuna’ ICT cluster,” he adds.
“It would be for early stage Auckland tech companies alongside Indian companies, combined with education and apartment living.”
World-leading Indian animation company Toonz presented at the summit and has agreed to establish its Australasian innovation division in Auckland.
Details of other leads are commercially confidential at the moment, but they include promising connections for an Auckland digital platform company which wants to enter the Indian market.
Many of the Indian business people came to Auckland and the summit as a result of a trade mission to India late last year led by Honourable Nathan Guy, Minister of Primary Industries and former Black Cap captain Stephen Fleming, which ATEED took part in.
O’Riley says the summit, timed for matches involving the Indian cricket team, was an obvious fulcrum for the week’s business connection building.
“ATEED supports the India-New Zealand Business Summit and the INZBC’s great work,” he adds. “I’d like to congratulate them on a highly successful, carefully tailored event.”
O’Riley says to have such high calibre keynote speakers in Auckland as Nandan Nilekani – the billionaire co-founder of multi-national Infosys Technologies, the fifth largest publicly traded company in India – and Dr Reuben Abraham, the chief executive of the Infrastructure Development Finance Company Institute – a think tank founded by the largest infrastructure funding company in India, was gold for Auckland.
“They encouraged New Zealand companies to change their mindset and to think big and high volume if they want to make an impression in India, and we certainly took that message on board from an Auckland context,” he says.
ATEED facilitated an opportunity for five emerging innovative Auckland companies – Revolution Fibres (nanofibers), CleanPaleo (health food), Petromac (oil exploration), TigerTurf (synthetic turf) and Medicine Mondiale (LifePod infant incubators) – to showcase their products to summit delegates.
“We work with three of the companies through delivering the Government’s Regional Business Partner Network programme, and the other two feature among our business networks,” O’Riley adds.
“To get in front of that audience was a great opportunity, and the companies have reported great initial feedback from summit attendees about potential investment or distribution deals.”
Furthermore, six of India’s top international education agents came to Auckland for the week.
Indians are the second-largest national group of the 60,000 international fee-paying students in Auckland who inject about $1.6 billion a year to the regional economy.
ATEED introduced the agents to Auckland schools and tertiary providers, helped them understand employment opportunities for Indian graduates who want to remain in Auckland, took them to this year’s international student welcome event at The Cloud, and helped them experience some of Auckland’s top tourist and lifestyle activities.
“The agents were exposed to a large number of institutions and new courses they didn’t know about, and we helped them better understand the environment and opportunities in Auckland for their student recruits,” O’Riley adds.
India is Auckland’s fourth fastest growing visitor market and ATEED is working with Tourism New Zealand and airlines to increase the availability of more direct and indirect flights between Auckland to India.
“ATEED is now focused on comprehensive follow up – similar to what is being done post America’s Cup – to ensure the connections made last week deliver results,” he adds.
“New Zealand’s proposed Free Trade Agreement with India would smooth the process, but Auckland is open for business with India now.”