General overview

This page includes insights from NZTE's in-market networks (noting these are not all official channels), and advice and links to third-party information that may be of use. Don't forget to check out our sector insights and advice to exporters below – covering retail, e-commerce, restaurants and food service. You'll also find a series of video insights, bought to you by our team on the ground across China.

China is largely operational now, with most people back to working and living as normal, and domestic travel at close to pre-pandemic levels with minimal restrictions. We note that international visitors are still subject to visa and quarantine restrictions and China’s supply chains are still disrupted due to the global COVID-19 situation. 

China is largely operational now, with minimal travel restrictions across the country and many people returning to their workplaces or effectively working from home. We note that international visitors are still subject to visa and quarantine restrictions and China’s supply chains are still disrupted due to the global Covid-19 situation.

It is crucial that exporters to China continue to utilise a range of advice as part of their decision-making processes. We recommend proactive communication with employees and business partners to discuss how your business may be affected. This includes your suppliers, logistics providers, distributors, banks, retailers and e-commerce platforms.

NZTE has established a China-specific advisory service comprising of our China team as well as a panel of external experts. This service is available to any exporters who are experiencing issues.

NZTE customers should contact their New Zealand-based Customer Manager to access this service. If you are not a registered NZTE customer, contact us on 0800 555 888 or email us here.

Top level insights: July 2020

  • On the whole, market conditions for New Zealand companies are improving in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

  • The limited availability of flights resulting in elevated airfreight costs remains a challenge despite regular cargo flights. International sea freight is almost back to normal.

  • Chinese consumers continue the shift to online purchasing. Navigating and building capability in e-commerce is one of the fastest growing customers requests.

  • Travelling/ returning to China remains challenging for foreign nationals. Visas to undertake “urgent or necessary economic activity” in China have been granted to a number of New Zealand business people. Quarantine for two weeks must be completed in all three markets.

  • Exports categories that are up on the same period last year include dairy and infant formula, meat (slightly ahead), horticulture including fruit (slight lift) - though the industry is reporting increasing downward price pressure and competition due to inventory build up when consumption was weak.

  • Export categories that are down include Forestry (all major product categories have fallen sharply), and Seafood exporters have faced significant difficulties.

For more information on doing business in China, visit myNZTE - our free online portal for curated, in-depth information and guidance. 

Market overview - Hong Kong

Hong Kong has experienced a third wave of COVID-19. The number of confirmed cases has been steadily decreasing, but the Hong Kong Government is still maintaining tight restrictions: 

  • Public gatherings are limited to 2 people (down from 4); 

  • People must wear masks in ALL public places, including on the street, but are no longer required to wear masks in public parks or when exercising; 

  • Restaurants and catering businesses may only seat 50% of capacity with dine-in allowed until 9pm. Only two people are allowed to sit per table. Takeaway food is allowed to be purchased after 9pm. 

  • Pubs, entertainment centres, gymnasiums and public recreation facilities including swimming pools and public beaches are closed;

  • All schools are closed, with lessons delivered online. 

Hong Kong remains closed to all non-residents. Passengers travelling from Mainland China, Taiwan or Macau SAR to Hong Kong who have not been to any other country/region in the past 14 days are allowed to enter. They will need to satisfy 14 day permitted stay requirements in Hong Kong in order to undertake compulsory 14 day quarantine – otherwise they will be refused entry.

Whilst transits through Hong Kong for certain categories of passengers are permitted, transiting to destinations in Mainland China is not available. As of 15 August, transits from Mainland China via Hong Kong will be permitted to facilitate the movement of Chinese students returning to overseas study institutions. Lastly, all sea-to-air ferry services (Greater Bay Area to Hong Kong) and air-to-sea (Hong Kong to Greater Bay Area) are suspended.

While most businesses remain open, there are a growing number of empty shopfronts starting to appear in many of the main shopping districts. Online food delivery services (both ready-made meals and grocery shopping) remain extremely popular given the health concerns caused by COVID-19. There are visibly less people using public transport as people attempt to avoid prolonged contact with others in confined spaces.

Regular updates and guidance on the response to COVID 19 are provided by the Hong Kong Government – view it here.

Market overview - Taiwan

Taiwan has managed well in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and there are currently no trade restrictions between New Zealand and Taiwan. As a whole, Taiwan remains 'open for business', but there are notable sea freight challenges and air freight options are particularly narrow.

Most shops and offices remain open and supermarket shelves are well stocked. However, many people are working from home and have significantly reduced levels of social interaction. Most people wear masks in public and many are actively keeping their distance from others. Retail foot traffic is dramatically down and the tourism and hospitality sectors have been hit particularly hard.

For the most up-to-date pandemic controls within Taiwan, please visit the CDC website, and for the latest travel information please visit the Taiwan Bureau of Consular Affairs.  For the current status of events and conferences in Taiwan, please check the Taitra website.

China updates by topic

Sector insights
Economy and trade
Supply chain, logistics & freight
Government support
Consumer behaviour
Business operations
Tradeshow and event information

Video insights

More resources available here.

Export support
Last updated: 1 Jul 2020
COVID-19 Market Realities: Greater China Wine Market, 1 July

NZTE Beachhead Advisor, Simon Zhou, shares insights on how COVID-19 has impacted China’s wine industry, including consumer demands and digital trends.

Watch now
Export support
Last updated: 18 Jun 2020
COVID-19 Market Realities: Greater China Digital Marketplace, 19 June

Jessica Miao, Founder and CEO of United Media Solution, discusses the digital changes, trends and opportunities for NZ exporters in China.

Watch now
Export support
Last updated: 19 May 2020
Video insights: on the ground in Taipei, 12 May

NZTE BDM, Peg Tsai, takes us on a midday tour of Taipei 101. It has been 13 days with 0 cases in Taipei, and people are returning to ‘normal life’.

Watch now
Export support
Last updated: 19 May 2020
Video insights: on the ground in Beijing, 12 May

NZTE BDM in Beijing, Joyce Liu, takes us on an afternoon tour to show us how life is resuming in the fashionable Sanlitun area in Beijing.

Watch now
Export support
Last updated: 12 May 2020
Video insights: on the ground in Taipei, 6 May

NZTE BDM in Taipei, Peg Tsai, takes us on a midday tour of Taipei 101.

Watch now
Export support
Last updated: 12 May 2020
Video insights: on the ground in Hong Kong, 5 May

NZTE BDM in Hong Kong, Calvin Chau, takes us on a tour of some popular spots in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay.

Watch now
Export support
Last updated: 12 May 2020
Video insights: on the ground in Chengdu, 5 May

NZTE BDM in Chengdu, Vera Chen, takes us on a tour of Taikoo Li, a famous shopping, dining and entertainment destination for locals and tourists.

Watch now
Export support
Last updated: 1 May 2020
Video insights: on the ground in Shanghai, 29 April and 1 May

NZTE BDMs based in Shanghai, Catherine Liu and Celine Wang, take us on two tours of popular Shanghai destinations to show how life is resuming.

Watch now
Export support
Last updated: 30 Apr 2020
Video insights: on the ground in Guangzhou, 30 April

NZTE BDM in Guangzhou, Joseph Li, takes us on a late morning tour through a high-end supermarket, and a local restuarant where occupancy is up to 80%.

Watch now
Export support
Last updated: 29 Apr 2020
Video insights: on the ground in Taipei, 29 April

NZTE BDM in Taipei, Peg Tsai, takes us on a tour of famous landmark, Taipei 101. At the time of filming, it had been 30 days of zero cases in Taiwan.

Watch now

Additional resources

Below you can find information and contact details for other New Zealand government and international agencies regarding their response to COVID-19.

New Zealand Government agencies
COVID-19 helpline for businesses
New Zealand Customs
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)
New Zealand Export Credit (NZEC)
MFAT Export Helpline
MFAT Safetravel
Callaghan Innovation
Ministry of Health
WorkSafe New Zealand

Global agencies

World Health Organization (WHO)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Contact NZTE

We're available to talk to you about any issues your export business is facing due to COVID-19.

For existing NZTE customers, please contact your New Zealand-based Customer Manager.

If you're unsure who to contact or haven't worked with us before, you can call NZTE on 0800 555 888 or email below and one of our Customer Advisors will help you.