In last month’s ‘The Wharf42 Preview of 2016’ post, I talked a little bit about Asia as being one of our key focus areas of activity this year.

Last Thursday, I invited Kiwi startups to apply to join the SPH Plug and Play Accelerator Program in Singapore. You can view that post here. Today, like millions of others, I will be celebrating Chinese New Year; the Year of the Monkey.

It has sparked off some interesting discussions. Why would a consultancy (Wharf42) that is so connected with Silicon Valley spend time looking north? The answer is quite simple.

When I talk to Chinese entrepreneurs and investors about our engagement with key partners in Silicon Valley, this generates real interest. The fact that the US Federal Government will not buy product from Huawei has not prevented the company from operating a 600 person R&D campus in Santa Clara. Direct Chinese investment into the Valley is significant. It is this link with Silicon Valley that is generating Wharf42’s increased opportunity to leverage these networks with Asia.

c/o Sunlive Media

c/o Sunlive Media

I believe that New Zealand is in a unique position. With its FTA with China and the recent signing of the TPP, New Zealand works closely with both China and the US. I’m not sure if this means we can play the role of honest broker, but one of our clear advantages is that we are seen as being transparent and trustworthy in both geographies. This is a major plus.

It’s with this thought that I welcome the Year of the Monkey. According to Chinese mythology, the monkey’s key traits include being Intelligent, dignified, optimistic, sociable, quick-witted, confident, agile, motivator, curious and gregarious.

Without sounding too self-indulgent, these are traits that Wharf42 shares. For our dim sum lunch at the 88 Restaurant in Tauranga today, a good omen then for the twelve months ahead.