Dunedin keen for Chinese tech link

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull (second left) examines an exhibition of photographs depicting Dunedin’s...
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull (second left) examines an exhibition of photographs depicting Dunedin’s Lan Yuan Garden while on a visit to Shanghai’s Yu Garden earlier this month. With him are (from left) Dunedin Lan Yuan Garden Trust chairman Malcolm Wong, deputy mayor Chris Staynes (background), Zhu Weimin, the vice-director-general of the Shanghai Foreign Affairs Office, and Wang Yan, the director-general of Huangpu District Foreign Affairs Office. Photo: Supplied
The signing of a new co-operation agreement with one of China’s most innovative cities is expected to boost Dunedin’s burgeoning digital tech sector.

A delegation led by Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull was in China earlier this month for events in Shanghai, Nanjing and Wuxi.

Wuxi, a city of six million people near Shanghai, was the base for China’s "Internet of Things" industry — building a network of internet-connected smart devices with consumer, commercial and industrial applications.

While in Wuxi, Mr Cull signed a "friendly co-operation agreement" which sought to foster closer ties between the two cities.

Mr Cull said the relationship had been growing in recent years, as the University of Otago and Enterprise Dunedin developed closer links with Wuxi’s Jiangnan University.

The new agreement sought to expand those links, particularly in the areas of health science, digital excellence, high-end equipment manufacturing, new energy sources, energy conservation and environmental protection.

That would open up new opportunities for companies in Dunedin and Wuxi to collaborate, as Dunedin sought to capitalise on its burgeoning tech and digital sector, GigCity status and planned Centre of Digital Excellence initiative, he hoped.

Mr Cull also opened a photo exhibition, depicting Dunedin’s Lan Yuan garden, during a visit to its sister garden — Shanghai’s 459-year-old Yu Garden.

The exhibition marked the 10th anniversary of the opening of Dunedin’s garden, and would be viewed by some of the six million people who visited Yu Garden each year.

In Nanjing, a visit to Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation meant Dunedin would be profiled as a study destination to millions of viewers, he said.

And the signing of a new sister school memorandum of understanding between Guangming High School and Otago Boys’ High School — the eighth such deal involving high schools in Dunedin and Shanghai — would boost the city’s international study numbers.

Guangming already had a relationship with Otago Girls’ High School, but the new deal would mean more staff and pupil exchanges, boosting Dunedin’s reputation for "educational excellence", Mr Cull said.

The 11-member Dunedin delegation was in China from November 4 to 10, during which Mr Cull also attended the opening of the China International Import Expo in Shanghai.

• David Hay, a Dunedin-based film and television producer, writer and director, has become the first recipient of the Dunedin Shanghai Screen Writers’ Exchange programme.

Mr Hay departs tomorrow to spend six weeks in Shanghai, hosted by the Shanghai Art Film Federation, while meeting film makers, visiting studios and undertaking research.

The programme aimed to help build new professional relationships and generate new content for film and television projects in New Zealand, China or both, Film Dunedin co-ordinator Antony Deaker said.


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