E-commerce, renewable energy, sports, and film emerge as key sectors to focus on post COVID
India New Zealand Business Council (INZBC), New Zealand’s premiere trade organisation for India recently held a panel discussion with the ASEAN New Zealand Business Council (ASEAN NZ) to discuss opportunities for business in the region, post COVID.
A hot topic on the minds of many business owners, the event held at the premises of Bank of New Zealand in Auckland examined the current state of business, and shared insight on sectors and industries that have the potential to growth in a post COVID era.
The panel discussion led by Sameer Handa, Chair, INZBC and Kenneth Leong, Chairman, ASEAN NZ also provided an update on the actions taken by respective governments to help local and international businesses.
Sharing the state of work done by the respective governments and embassies, Sameer Handa said, “At the moment, focus is on firefighting rather than things for the future. We have had multiple discussions with the Indian government, on dealing with this situation and helping with resources such as oxygen concentrators, PPEs, for India. The on-ground NZ High Commission team in India is in the same situation, where business as usual has changed to firefighting and ensuring the safety of the staff.”
Encouraging business community to act rather than react, Kenneth Leong added, “Governments by nature are conservative. They don’t move like us. We can’t just rely on governments to make all the decisions. There is a need for us to keep pushing, and we do. Collectively, we work together to help the government make the right decisions. But we must also see what we can do, collectively as the business community.”
All panellist and government representatives present in the room agreed that there is a lot of discussion and work that’s happening behind the scenes that business owners may not be aware of. During the discussion, a representative of Ministry for Foreign Affair and Trade assured the over 50 business owners in the room that in terms of the trade policy and setting a platform that businesses can take advantage of, the work is proceeding in a virtual manner through negotiations. They advised that negotiations on the upgrade of the ASEAN Australia NZ free trade agreement will soon restart, and that the ministry is hoping to conclude it in the next 18 months. Work on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is also moving forward.
Commenting on opportunities for NZ business in India in the key sectors of interest, Sameer Handa highlighted the popular sectors of dairy, healthcare, pharma, IT, fishing, food processing with an addition of emerging sectors like renewable energy, sporting goods, and film as these sectors have shown a lot of potential for growth.
Kenneth Leong highlighted E-commerce as an emerging industry post pandemic, primarily due to its high rate of adoption. He said, “To be fair, the growth of E commerce started pre-COVID. But the rate of adoption is now at a different pace. If the only way for you to get your groceries is by ordering it online, everyone will order online. That’s a very powerful motivator. Also, innovation in terms of online to offline and offline to online, like going to the supermarket and the goods magically appearing on your doorstep – all of that is happening rapidly and happening right now all over the world.”
In conclusion, INZBC Chair, Sameer Handa set out a challenge for all business owners in the room. He said, “COVID has touched everyone around the world. There are no two worlds as far as the impact of COVID is concerned. We must learn how to live with it. We can’t avoid it. We need to find a way to work with it around us, manage it, protect ourselves around it and learn to do things differently. That’s the challenge for all of us and to you.”