Dunedin's burgeoning economic relationship with China
will be taken another step forward when a top-level delegation
from Qingdao visits the city next week.
The 15-strong delegation headed by Vice-mayor of Qingdao, Liu
Mingjun, will be in Dunedin on Wednesday to sign a new
economic partnership agreement with the council's economic
The memorandum of understanding is to promote the growth of
trade, mutual investment and business co-operation between
the two cities.
Qingdao is a major centre in Eastern China's Shandong
province, with a population of more than 8.7 million people,
and is home to the Haier Group, which owns Fisher and Paykel.
A delegation led by Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull visited the city
during a trip to China in April, and toured the Haier display
centre in Qingdao.
The reciprocal visit led by Mr Liu would also include members
of the Qingdao Bureau of Commerce and the Qingdao Municipal
The delegation had been invited south at the end of a planned
trip to Auckland - Qingdao's sister city - and would visit
the Fisher and Paykel design unit, Toitu Otago Settlers
Museum and the Dunedin Chinese Garden while in the city.
The trip would build on the city's economic development
strategy, which included a section stressing the need to
develop links beyond the city's borders.
However, deputy mayor Chris Staynes - the chairman of the
Grow Dunedin Partnership - said it was also a chance to
discuss the importance of Fisher and Paykel to Dunedin, and
showcase the city's other businesses.
''This visit ... will create a platform for the city to
introduce and showcase what other Dunedin businesses could
offer that could enhance future economic opportunities
between the two cities.''