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ODL returns to China as "Kiwi"

Dozens of companies from New Zealand, the first Western country to sign the agreement in support of China's One Belt One Road initiative, will attend the First China International Import Expo in Shanghai from November 5-10, 2018 — and one of them will be Chinese in origin.

Yili Oceania Dairy Ltd, the South Canterbury-based dairy company regarded as a model for successful Sino-New Zealand cooperation, will revisit its roots when it attends the expo as a representative of the dairy industry in New Zealand.

Yili acquired the fledgling Oceania company in 2012 after the previous owners failed to raise enough funds to create their own dairy factory.

Yili built a $236 million milk processing plant on a 38-hectare block of land at Glenavy which began processing milk in the 2014 season. Now Yili Oceania Dairy Ltd or ODL, as it is better known locally, has been the recipient of billions of yuan of investment from Yili Group, the state-owned Chinese dairy company.


The New Zealand firm is now thought to be the world's largest integrated dairy production base — covering packaging, processing, production and R&D. Yili is China's largest dairy producer with an estimated 22 per cent of the retail dairy products such as fresh milk, cheese, yoghurt and sour milk.

New Zealand's then-Prime Minister John Key and Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony of the project, the first to be unveiled as part of the Sino-New Zealand "cooperation package".

ODL is regarded as a landmark project strengthening economic and trade cooperation between New Zealand and China, and has become a model for how the two countries can successfully work together to assist in the mutual development of their respective economies under the initiative.

One of the directors at ODL said Yili's investment in New Zealand was warmly welcomed and its employees are almost all local hires. ODL purchases milk in accordance with the contracts signed with dairy farmers and has set the minimum purchase price for milk, assuring the livelihood of nearly 100 New Zealand dairy farmers.

"China's Yili has proven itself to be trustworthy and caring and I will be telling more dairy farmers that it is the right choice to provide milk to Yili," said one of those farmers recently.

Yili has also aimed to help develop local communities and education as well as the promotion of cultural exchanges between New Zealand and China.

"Yili is like a member of our family, and I've always viewed it as a 100 per cent New Zealand business," said Waimate mayor Craig Rowley.

ODL demonstrates Yili's globalisation strategy based on what the firm refers to as "global networking". The investment made by Chinese companies as part of the One Belt, One Road

initiative is not simply an acquisition but is designed to be a win-win proposition through mutual integration and mutual understanding.

Between now and 2020, Yili's goal is reach the point where the firm is providing nutritional and healthy products to two billion consumers worldwide, genuinely achieving the dream of "sharing health with the world".


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