(St. John’s, NL; 23 June 2014) China represents an enormous market for the province’s ocean technology cluster, but distance, language and various issues of trade make it an extremely expensive undertaking. So anyone who wants to enter that market has to develop the right connections and gather intelligence before they can consider stepping up to compete for the yuan.

In an effort to help the ocean technology sector explore entry points into the Chinese market, OceansAdvance, with its partners at IBRD and ACOA, organized a luncheon and connector B2B meetings June 19 at the Johnson GeoCentre where local companies in the ocean technology cluster met with a Chinese delegation from the oil and gas, aquaculture and ocean technology sectors.

According to Barry Snow, executive director of Oceans Advance, the delegation included senior Ocean Technology sector researchers, business people, and officials from Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Guangdong, Tianjin, and Beijing. The mission also included two trade commissioners from the Canadian Consulates in Shanghai and Guangzhou. 

The Chinese delegates were in St. John’s as part of an Atlantic Canadian fam tour to explore opportunities for collaboration as well as technology purchasing. The connecter event provided an opportunity for the Chinese delegates to introduce their companies and organizations to the local cluster. And for four local companies, Virtual Marine Technology, Rutter, E-sonar, and Notus it was an unprecedented opportunity to present their capabilities to potential buyers. This opportunity was enhanced by facilitated connector  meetings between the local businesses and interested delegates from China.

Barry Snow was pleased with how well the event went. “We were originally scheduled to run until 3:00 pm but the meetings went on until 5:00 when the delegates had to leave for another meeting.”

Tony Patterson, President and CEO of Virtual Marine Technology Inc represented his company at the event. He feels this type of exploratory meeting is important when looking at a market on the other side of the world. “It is a big commitment to go over there. And it takes a great deal of effort to develop the kind of deep understanding you need to enter such an enormous market, but this kind of meeting at least provides an introduction,” he said.

Snow agrees. He said the reason he set up the meeting for the delegation is that, “China is a compelling market for exports because of the sheer order of magnitude of the export opportunities and that country’s increasing focus on growth in the blue economy.”

Snow says follow-up is ongoing. “”They were very impressed by the companies they met and the research underway in the institutes they toured. One example was Mi’s research on automation in Fish processing facilities.”

He also pointed out that this meeting is another step in the strategy that dates back to several provincial missions to China during which MOUs were signed with several Chinese provinces. “I applaud the government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s commitment to building relationships in China. Several of our member companies have already benefitted and I’m confident many more will into the future.”

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Media Contact: Barry Snow, Executive Director, OceansAdvance Inc. P: (709) 738-7069; C: (709) 691-6592