manuka honeycomb next to honey dripper and a manuka flower

Small New Zealand businesses are turning to blockchain technology to secure their place in the Chinese market. NZ Post, AsureQuality, and NZ Trade and Enterprise have developed a delivery system for New Zealand products bought by overseas consumers that allows purchasers to verify the quality and origin of products.

Chinese consumers generally trust New Zealand businesses, but counterfeit products have proved destructive to the value of New Zealand products in the Chinese marketplace. General manager of international strategy and partnerships at NZ Post, Dene Green, has said fake products are devaluing the New Zealand brand.

One example of the prevalence of counterfeit products is the fact that more mānuka honey is sold in China than in New Zealand – which is strange, considering authentic mānuka honey is only produced in New Zealand.

“Blockchain adds value in determining an indisputable chain of information for a product - a single source of truth,” said Green. “In China there is a problem with trust, so blockchain authenticates that what they have received is what they ordered, and quality is part of that story.”

TrackBack, an Auckland developer, is providing blockchain technology for the HUI Māori Collective. If successful, other New Zealand companies will be able to use the technology to sell their products online with a higher degree of trust.

Chinese customers will pay more for premium, trustworthy products. “There’s not much trust for Daigou products,” said Green, referencing the Daigou market, which for New Zealand products usually means Kiwi goods are purchased by a customer in Australia and then forwarded to China.

“Once we are in position, we will take [the system] to all NZ Inc companies that want to export from a trust perspective. I’d like to think that in three to five years’ time the size of the verified market is equal to that of the Daigou channels - hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Green.