16 May 2016

Three-city Auckland summit discusses trade, growth

4:29 pm on 16 May 2016

A two-day summit might help both Auckland and Los Angeles deal with burgeoning population growth, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says.

Politicians and business leaders from Los Angeles and Guangzhou are being hosted in Auckland over the next days for the second three-city summit aimed at boosting trade.

Auckland

The first summit was in Los Angeles, but this time it's in Auckland. Photo: 123RF

More than 600 delegates will be at the Auckland Tripartite conference, focussing on business opportunities in high-value food, high-tech materials, digital media, data, and urban design.

The politicians are led by Auckland Mayor Len Brown, his Los Angeles counterpart Eric Garcetti and Guangzhou's vice-mayor Wang Dong, after they set-up the three city relationship in 2014.

Mr Garcetti said it would be worse if all three cities were struggling with a lack of growth.

"Instead we have growth that is outpacing what we have done to accommodate it, and the tripartite summit is about finding the best ideas - a Kiwi company that can help us with our drought in Los Angeles, a Chinese company that can help us solve our technological needs."

ATEED chief executive Brett O'Riley.

ATEED chief executive Brett O'Riley. Photo: RNZ / Todd Niall

Brett O'Riley, who heads Auckland's economic development agency ATEED, said there would be a significant step forward from last year's signing of a deal based by Guangzhou-based investor Innohub.

"We signalled then they would establish a venture fund to look at investing in Auckland companies, and there'll be further announcements about that fund and the first companies they'll invest in.

"It's exciting to see a solid bridge between Guangzhou from China and Auckland; and between Chinese investors and Auckland advanced companies," said Mr O'Riley.

One Auckland business endorsing the benefits of the tripartite relationship is furniture maker PLN group, which went as part of a business delegation to the first summit in Los Angeles, last year.

"We're probably within six to 12 months of having a beach-head set up within North America, focussing on the west coast, to start with," said managing director Blair McKoskey, whose firm has 40 staff.

"We've already grown our workforce by 10 percent, and with grow another 10 percent within a year. Our five-year goals have revenue growing by 500 percent, through this North American entry," he said.

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