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Creative HQ champions the Chinese startup that's embracing Kiwi innovation

By Sara Barker, Thu 15 Sep 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

New Zealand innovators now might have more of an entry point into China thanks to Wellington-based innovators Creative HQ and Chinese startup company Chicken Run.

The startup, based in Chengdu, will be journeying to New Zealand to participate in Creative HQ's 2016 Lightning Lab XX Accelerator programme for three months.

The startup has seen large-scale growth from small profit to tripling their sales. Creators Denny Zou and Steve Xin aim to become a multimillion dollar business by the end of 2017.

"Prior to Lightning Lab XX, Chicken Run was a manually managed business that was only marginally profitable. Denny and Steve quickly learnt techniques and thinking on how to design systems, growing the existing business while not endangering their core value," says Jon Hancock, Chicken Run's mentor.

Chicken Run has also found immense value in the programme.

"Lightning Lab XX has taken our business and vision to the next level. We have been exposed to a network of talented and helpful entrepreneurs, whose passion and courage have impressed, inspired and moved us," Zou explains.

Having met the team on their return to Chengdu with NZ Consulate Michael Zhang, Crozier believes that the experience has enabled them to define their unique points of difference in the local market.

The Chengdu government's increased focus on innovation as part of wider China's five-year economic development strategy. Creative HQ saw an opportunity to strengthen links between China and New Zealand by offering Chinese startups the opportunity to participate in the accelerator programme.

“It’s a gift for us to start this conversation – the beginning of our exchange. It has been a privilege to work with Denny and Steve and we look forward to future prosperous collaborations with China," says Nick Gerritsen, high growth advisor and Lightning Lab XX mentor.

Creative HQ has been commended by New Zealand Consul-General Alistair Crozier, who says New Zealand's way of innovation can benefit Chinese businesses.

“Innovation means different things to different people, especially across borders and cultures. Creative HQ is capable of showing Chinese start-ups and young businesses just how New Zealand does innovation, and how we do it differently. That jump-start can give a Chinese business the edge back in their home market,” Crozier explains.

The New Zealand Consulate will also show Chengdu's entrepreneurial innovators the kind of success New Zealand can provide as Chicken Run grows, and Crozier believes the innovators will undoubtedly be paying attention.

“It was clear that the immersive experience within New Zealand’s environment has energised them and impressed a real sense of Kiwi ingenuity and creativity. Chengdu is a modern, ambitious and dynamic place with locals committed to a work-life balance. It’s a very good formula for more innovation partnerships between New Zealand and Chengdu," Crozier concludes.

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