Export website offers immediacy
The National Business Review - 07 February 2003

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The government's trade promotion agency, Trade New Zealand, will next week unveil its new official export website, MarketNewZealand.com, a project that has been over a year in the gestation.

Since the website's conception, Trade NZ has become absorbed by mega­department Industry New Zealand but general manager marketing Rod MacKenzie said that would make it even more important as a "one-stop" tool to put exporters in touch with potential buyers over the internet.

"Without any promotion of the site, we are running at 50 valid inquiries a week," he told NBR. Under the manual system, using the telephone, the Trade NZ network handles about 3000 valid inquiries a year.

When inquiries from buyers are logged on the site, they will go through to the Trade NZ office in that country for verification. Matches are then made with the listed New Zealand exporters to establish the inquiry is genuine and can be fulfilled. The leads are then passed on to qualified exporters.

Mr MacKenzie said he didn't know what level of inquiry there would be once the site became better known. At first, it was being promoted in only three major sectors - food and beverage, wine and building products - in four key markets, the US, Canada, western Europe and Australia.

Exporters are listed on the site after meeting Trade NZ's benchmarks - to protect the country's reputation against dodgy traders or those who would be unable to fulfil commitments - and they can then add details about their products and services. All of these are listed according to the international Kompass classification system.

Apart from trade inquiries, the website will also offer "market intelligence" - information and profiles on countries, industries, trade shows and companies compiled by Trade NZ and outside sources.

A relevant news service also available free of charge, drawing on wire services and business publications such as NBR.  Mr MacKenzie said the rationale for the website was driven by the amount of information Trade NZ received and knew but had difficulty in dispersing in a timely and relevant manner to those who wanted it.

"That information can now be delivered immediately," Mr MacKenzie said. An immediate impact would be on Trade NZ itself. "It will change the pace at which this organisation works."

He said NewZealandMarket.com would differ from websites offered by other countries' trade promotion agencies by its specific relevance to buying and selling from a single source.

"The need in New Zealand was to aggregate small and growing exporters based on one brand at a low cost," he said. Other websites offered a lot of information but much of it was too general and did not have the flow-through that genuine e-commerce provided.

The site has been developed with four "core" partners, Bearing Point, TelstraClear, Microsoft and Cisco Systems. Trade NZ's other websites (corporate, ProjectLink and DigitalThink) will continue unaffected.