Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Wanted: deer products

Chinese businessman Zheng Bin is on the lookout for New Zealand deer products. On a flying visit in June he said NZ deer products were regarded as clean, pure and of good quality. Bin’s business, Saint Deer Bio-Tech, produces and supplies a range of deer products and has patented processes for many co-products. The northern Inner Mongolian company was established in 1996 and focuses on six product/service categories: velvet, co-products, health products, culture and tourism, restaurant/hospitality and 600 retail shops.

“Healthy alcohol” was a growing product category due to rising disposable incomes in China, Bin said. One of the alcoholic drinks his company produced had baijiu as its main component, a potent white alcohol distilled from sorghum. To this was added thinly sliced velvet at bottling or a velvet tonic prior to drinking.

Saint Deer Bio-Tech is in Baotou City, often referred to as China’s “deer city”.

The Chinese had a natural affinity with deer dating back 4000 years, Bin said. The animal was symbolic of luck, longevity and health.

In addition to managing the deer product business , Bin is president of the China Deer Industry Association, representing 600 deer-related companies. He also farms 20,000 deer, mostly Sika, in a feedlot system.

There was potential opportunity for NZ deer products in China but the stumbling block for him had been finding the right channels and people to source and land product, he said. Working with LinkChina, a China-New Zealand business and marketing communications company, helped him land in October last year the first container-load of NZ venison from Mountain River processors. He wants to import more to supply a planned chain of restaurants that will specialise in NZ venison dishes.

Managing director of LinkChina is Hunter McGregor, son of Deer Improvement’s general manager, Bruce. Hunter established the business last year to help businesses from NZ and China bridge the legal, compliance and cultural gaps in doing business in each other’s country. He is fluent in Mandarin, but says a successful China business relationship needs much more than simply knowing the language.

“It doesn’t mean you understand the culture. We see companies who hire staff with university backgrounds and who can speak the language but they don’t understand the business culture … China is a much swifter moving river business-wise than New Zealand and you need to be aware of that.”

More: 2012 export value of NZ deer products to China

More articles on this topic