By: Sally Rae
When Hunter McGregor established a business in China four years ago, it was pioneering stuff.
McGregor runs a Shanghai-based venison importing and distribution business, working with specialist New Zealand venison producer Mountain River Venison.
There was no market for venison in China and so it had been about creating both interest and demand for the product - "because it doesn't sell itself".
What he has also found is that running a business in China is getting harder. And that, quite simply, was "because it's China".
"It's the way things are," he said.
McGregor, his wife and their two young children have been back in his home turf of Otago this month, visiting family and enjoying a Kiwi holiday.
Brought up at Roxburgh - his parents had an orchard and founded Benger Gold juice and his father Bruce also managed Deer Improvement - he boarded at Otago Boys' High School before completing a marketing degree at the University of Otago.
After graduating, he headed overseas in 2001 and had never returned, apart from holidays.
Initially, he headed to Perth where he worked for the Western Australian Meat Marketing Co-operative Ltd (WAMMCO) for several years. From there, he spent three and a-half years in Korea before moving to China in 2007.
Describing himself as "hopeless" at languages, it took about two months before people could understand what he was saying but he had both the time and motivation to attend Mandarin classes.
After working for the New Zealand Government at Expo 2010 in Shanghai, McGregor decided he did not want to continue teaching English - he wanted to get into business.
He did some consulting work for a few companies, including pioneering sheep milk venture Blue River Dairy, helping founder Keith Neylon export into China.
That was an interesting time and gave him an understanding of how things worked in China and what was needed to be successful there.
After working for one of the distributors of the sheep milk powder, the opportunity arose to work with Mountain River Venison. The first container of venison arrived about the same time as the birth of his first child four years ago.
Read the full article here: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/the-country/news/article.cfm?c_id=16&objectid=12257754