[17 February/ New Zealand Herald]

New Zealand exporters including New Zealand’s biggest honey makers, Comvita and Manuka Health as well as Tasmanian infant formula company Bellamy’s, have seen tough business conditions due to a slowdown of Chinese “daigou” channel. The daigou channel offers manufacturers a “toehold” into the Chinese market and has been extensively utilised by many Australasian companies, especially in infant formula, manuka honey and health supplements. Chinese authorities placed a further 11.9 percent tax on incoming daigou product in April 2016, impacting the earnings of Australasian producers such as Comvita, who now expects net profit to be between $5-7 million, compared to $18.5 million 18 months prior. Comvita last year placed an estimated 2 million shares with food giant China Resources Ng Fung to increase Comvita product distribution in China, says Comvita chief executive Scott Coulter. Manuka Health chief executive John Kippenberger noted at the time of the tax increase, that the daigou channel was full of stock and the tax put the brakes on the channel to a degree.