Organisation to Boost Asian Nzers' Contribution to NZ Inc
PRESS RELEASE — EMBARGOED UNTIL 5.30AM 4 NOVEMBER 2014
Organisation to Boost Asian New Zealanders’ Contribution to NZ Inc
To grow their business in Asia Kiwi companies need more Asian senior executives and more Asians sitting around their boardroom tables. That’s the message from Mai Chen, founder and inaugural chair of New Zealand Asian Leaders (NZAL) – a newly formed organization for top and emerging Asian CEOs, directors, and leaders.
New Zealand Asian Leaders will be launching on Monday 4 November at EY’s premises on Takutai Square in Auckland. The organization will be launched by the Minister Hon Judith Collins and former New Zealand Governor General and NZAL Foundation Champion, Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand. Over 250 guests will be in attendance.
Making room at the top for Asian talent makes commercial sense, says Chen.
“This is smart business. Organisations wanting to succeed in Asia need people who understand Asia.”
“Asians leaders who are passionate New Zealanders and who retain strong cultural and family links with their home country, who speak the native language and who have strong business networks can contribute enormously to kiwi business success in Asia.”
New Zealand’s trade with Asia has been growing at a phenomenal rate. For example, China and India are expected to be the world’s two biggest economies by 2050. Six of New Zealand’s current top 10 trading partners are in Asia, and our exports to China were $7.9 billion alone.
These sentiments are echoed by NZAL’s foundation champions:
“NZAL will be joining the dots. By bringing together kiwi businesses, Asian businesses and the leaders driving them, we can help propel NZ Inc forward” said Vino Ramayah, the CEO of MedTechGlobal head quartered in NZ
“NZAL bring benefits at home. The organization is a touchstone. It is a great place for kiwi businesses to find Asian leaders who can then help them succeed in Asia” said Tarun Kanji, an independent director of the Bank of India in NZ.
New Zealand companies often under-estimate cultural hurdles and language difficulties, and misinterpret subtle signals in Asian societies where the business environment is light years away from the usual kiwi business playing field.
Frank Cui, Head of Migrant Banking at major sponsor, BNZ, says New Zealand Asian Leaders will maximize the country’s business interactions by championing Asian culture and business within the New Zealand business community.
“Connecting Asian talent with New Zealand companies doing business in Asia will help discover opportunities in Asian countries that only Asian leaders know about due to their cultural background and family links” said Cui.
With increasing investment in in New Zealand by Asian companies, the growth of our exports to Asian, the increasing complexity of outsourcing arrangements, the Fonterra food scare, and the importance of Asian countries for NZ exports, including Asian tourism and export education in NZ, “the time has never been more right for an organization like this” said Ms Chen.
“The focus of this organization is on Asian NZers many of whom are profiled on NZAL’s website. Asian NZers will have insights and different viewpoints given their background that may greatly benefit this country’s interface with Asia and we need to maximize the full potential of all the people in this country to help NZ Inc.”
Asians now make up a significant proportion of NZ’s population. Asians are the third largest ethnic group at 9.2% and with the fastest projected growth are expected to make up 15.8% of the New Zealand population by 2026. However, Asians do not make up a significant portion of top-level management in New Zealand business. EY, another major NZAL sponsor, recently reviewed the top 100 companies from Management Magazine and found that only 17% of firms had Asians as Directors or senior executives, only 13% had Asians in their executive teams, and only 5% had Asians on their boards.
“To engage properly with Asian markets and business, New Zealand companies need to up their game by building their networks with Asian business people in New Zealand. Greater diversity is a market strength and it will help kiwi firms break into and to succeed in the lucrative Asian market” said Ms Chen.
NZAL’s vision is to maximize New Zealand’s successful business interface with Asia and bring together Asian Leaders to bridge this gap. The organization benefits from a wealth of experienced mentors to help nurture up and coming Asian business talent. These mentors include the Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand – the former Governor General of New Zealand, Vicky Robertson – the deputy CEO of the New Zealand Treasury, Dame Rose Horton DNZM, QSO, QSM – Philanthropist and mentor for the Charitable Sector, the Hon Phillip Burdon – the Chair of the Asia NZ Foundation, Professor Swee Tan – 2013 New Zealander of the Year Finalist and eminent cancer surgeon/researcher, Dame Rosanne Meo - one of NZ's foremost directors, Kai Luey – past president of the New Zealand Chinese Association, and Joanna Doolan – senior tax partner at Ernst Young, Dr Xiaoying Fu - Investment Delivery Manager at ATEED, and Chris Lipscombe - Co-Chair of CANZBC (China and New Zealand Business Council).
NZAL’s advisory Board includes Shamubeel Eaqub (Principal Economist and NZIER), Dr Sohail Choudhry (GM, NZ Post), Patrick English (CEO, NZ China Council), Frank Wong, Florence Wong (Associate Director EY), Debbie Sew Hoy (General Manager, Glacier Investments) and Richard Leung (Product Manager, Glacier Investments).
NZAL has also pulled together an impressive group of sponsors, including public and employment law specialist firm, Chen Palmer, the Bank of New Zealand, accounting, professional services firm EY, World TV Ltd, the Chinese Herald and the Emerald Group Limited. Supporters include The University of Auckland Business School, The Institute of Directors, World Class New Zealanders and NZ’s global network of Kiwi Expats Association, the Asia NZ Foundation, the NZ China Council, and many more!
Media are invited to attend NZAL’s launch.
The list of current members and emerging leaders is on the New Zealand Asian Leaders website.