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A Dunedin delegation is heading to China as the relationship with the country continues to grow.
The group, headed by Dunedin City Council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose, deputy mayor Chris Staynes and Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie, left last night for a week in Shanghai and Qingdao.
The delegation would take part in civic, business and educational activities, including visiting the Haier Group - owners of Fisher and Paykel Appliances, which retains an office in Dunedin - in Qingdao.
The group would also visit Qingdao University, Qingdao Municipal Government, Shanghai Municipal Government, Jiao Tong University, the Shanghai Education Commission and the Shanghai Tourism Bureau, a council spokeswoman said. They would also lay the groundwork for a follow-up trip to be led by Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull in July, as well as planned celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the Dunedin-Shanghai sister-city relationship.
The eight-strong delegation also included the council's Shanghai business development manager, Ying Qin, and two representatives each from the University of Otago and Dunedin business. The trip's cost would be shared between the parties, with the council's share costing $14,000 and coming in part from the economic development strategy budget. Mr Christie, as the head of the economic development strategy's Project Shanghai, would have his costs covered by the council.
Council infrastructure and networks general manager Tony Avery would be acting chief executive in Dr Bidrose's absence.