WELLINGTON, March 8 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand bioscience firms are being encouraged to seek greater collaboration with Asia, particularly China, where rapid development of the bioscience sector is drawing the focus away from traditional partners in Europe and the United States.
"Go Asia" is the theme of industry group NZBIO's three-day annual conference in Auckland later this month, when speakers will talk of the opportunities and experiences in working with Asian partners.
"There's a growing awareness that there's a shift in focus from Europe and the United States of America into Asia and we're trying to present people with experience in Asia," NZBIO chief executive Dr. George Slim told Xinhua on Friday.
New Zealand already had strong research collaboration with China in agricultural bioscience, particularly through seed developer PGG Wrightson which is controlled by China's Agria group.
Other New Zealand companies, such as LanzaTech, which has partnered with China's Baosteel to convert steel mill fumes into biofuels, were also drawing significant Asian interest, as were companies involved in pharmaceutical and health sciences.
"All this investment is built on trust and contacts and we hope companies can expand their contacts and learn about opportunities in Asia," Slim said in a phone interview.
"A lot of it revolves around our reputation in the food industry where we're seen as having honesty and integrity. We've got a lot of good companies with a track record of success."
New Zealand companies should also consider partnering with Australian firms to form a "united front" in research that could attract even greater interest from Asia, he said.
One of the keynote speakers will be Professor Zhong Yang, dean of the graduate school of Shanghai's Fudan University, who will talk on bioscience trends and collaboration opportunities in China.
Zhong studied in the fields of molecular evolution of plants, bioinformatics and analysis and computer simulation of systems biology, and has focused on China's medium- and long-term technology development plans as well as contemporary issues on energy saving and emission reduction, development of renewable energy and its energy economy strategy.
More than 400 delegates from around the world are expected to attend the conference, which opens on March 18.