Bridging the islands with China


“I like challenges, I like facing new things and I like working face to face with business.<!--more-->

[caption id="attachment_7051" align="alignleft" width="138"]<a href=""><img class="size-full wp-image-7051" alt="Kevin Zhang (right) at a trade booth during an expo in Tonga." src="" width="138" height="104" /></a> Kevin Zhang (right) at a trade booth during an expo in Tonga.[/caption]

As long as you work hard, PT&amp;I can give you the opportunity to use individual talents and ability.” That’s how Kevin Zhang, Pacific Islands Trade &amp; Invest (PT&amp;I) Beijing’sTourism and Trade Officer summarises his work with PT&amp;I.

Kevin has worked with PT&amp;I for three years but has been involved with the South Pacific for more than 10 years.  Back in 2004, Kevin worked as the Purchasing Manager for the Dateline Hotel of the Janfull Group in Nuku’alofa, Tonga. In 2005 he was the Office Manager for the Grand Pacific Hotel project in Fiji. And before joining PT&amp;I he spent time working with the Embassy of Tonga in Beijing.

“I find Pacific people to be very warm and friendly.  The environment is so quiet and I really like the fresh air and blue sky!” says Kevin.

Kevin brings this great experience to promote the Pacific region in his role as the Tourism officer. Representatives from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tonga and Vanuatu have all travelled to China to work with PT&amp;I and the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) to increase the number of Chinese visitors to the region.

“In my tourism work, I focus on connecting travel agents in China with tour operators from the Pacific Islands.”

But Kevin is also experienced in trade between the Pacific Islands and China. He has assisted Samoa with sourcing packaging and promoting Noni Juice. He has also helped Fiji to promote food products and find buyers.

One of the major challenges is the Chinese market’s general lack of knowledge about the South Pacific and the products available, “We have to work hard to help them learn more about them.”

To do this, PT&amp;I Beijing worked with SPTO to deliver seminars in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou promoting the Pacific islands. He enjoyed making the sales calls and as a result many travel agents in these three cities are now familiar with PT&amp;I and they now have a stronger connection with them, he says.

A highpoint for Kevin was attending the Food Pacific event in Shanghai. It was the first time PT&amp;I had a booth at SIAL China, one of the biggest Food and Beverage trade shows attracting major Chinese companies and thousands of visitors. Last year there were more than 2,400 exhibitors from 61 countries and more than 45,000 attendees.

“We had the opportunity to meet some of the big companies and build good relations with them,” says Kevin.

This year he would like to see more Chinese tourists travel to the South Pacific and he’s hoping to introduce more Pacific products into the China market. “I hope to build co-operation with other groups in China who can work together with us to connect Chinese businesses with the South Pacific.”

Kevin is also confident about the future for more Pacific businesses to get into the market. “(The) China market is opening more and more and we will have more chances to do business here.  Pacific people can take confidence in this and be steadfast when doing business in China.”

For more information on PT&amp;I in China, please email Louisa Sifakula, PT&amp;I Beijing Deputy Trade Commissioner on <a href=""></a>