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11

Gong Ho! Pizza Beijing co-founder

Jade Gray

fascinated and

intrigued the audience with his enterprising spirit, varied commercial

involvements, resourcefulness and creativity in grabbing market

opportunities and responding effectively to challenges in building

and running businesses in China since the mid-1990s. He began his

colourful journey first working as a ski instructor in China’s Heilongjiang

Province, then managing a cattle ranch in Liaoning Province, and later

running a supermarket in Yunnan Province. From 2000 onwards, he

went into setting up his own ventures in Beijing, which included a gym

franchise and several food and beverage establishments. In 2010,

Prime Minister John Key cut the ribbon of his Gong Ho! Pizza chain in

Beijing. During his twenty odd years in China, he always incorporated

public-good initiatives into his business activities, ranging from

collecting rubbish on the Great Wall to starting an organisation to fund

Dog Shelters in China’s capital. Jade’s rich and successful business

development experiences in China attracted the attention of the New

Zealand government, which appointed him to its Business Beachheads

Advisory Board (China) in 2009. His “three P’s” business motto, i.e.,

profits, people and planet, was covered by China Daily, which was

also his advice to those in the audience who planned to engage in

commercial activities in Asia.

Nova Mercier,

a Policy Advisor from the Ministry of Business, Innovation

and Employment, told her story of how a chance opportunity of

teaching English in South Korea in 2008 inspired her to learn the Korean

language, get a scholarship to complete her MA in Sungkyunkwan

University in Seoul, tutor North Korean refugees in English, and work

for a digital site sharing their insights. She believed that her extensive

exposure to Korea widened her horizons, polished her skills, provided a

springboard for her career in New Zealand, and enabled her to envision

connecting with the broader region beyond Korea. Nova invited

interested members of the Asia Savvy community to check out the

Kimchi Club, a network of young professionals having ties with Korea,

which went global soon after its opening in New Zealand in 2009.

Jade Gray, Co-Founder, Gung Ho! Pizza

Nova Mercier, Policy Adviser, MBIE