Eastern Bridge is a company specalising in International Relations with a focus on East Asia (mostly China, Japan and South Korea). We work with a range of New Zealand clients and help them manage their relationships and do business in Asia. 

Councils and CCOs

Eastern Bridge was initially developed to assist local councils and Economic Development Agencies. Today we work with over 40 of them to support economic and community development

Education Providers

Since 2018 Eastern Bridge has been working with schools to develop international programmes and also recruit international students.


Since 2019 Eastern Bridge has started taking on several export business clients who are interested in the Chinese and Korean markets.

When you work with Eastern Bridge you do not gain access to a single person’s knowledge and experience – you can an entire International Relations department

Simon Appleton - CEO

Simon Appleton is the founder and CEO of Eastern Bridge. Simon has spent over a decade living in Asia. He studied a Masters in Chinese Law, focusing on International Relations at the prestigious Renmin University in Beijing. Simon has also worked in Korea and China including in roles in the Media, Local Government Administration and Education. After returning to New Zealand in 2010 Simon worked for the Opotiki District Council and Toi Economic Development Agency. In 2014 Simon left the council to start Eastern Bridge. Simon is also the Executive Director of the Korea New Zealand Business Council

The concept for Eastern Bridge came about when our Principle was working for a local government. During this time he saw the disconnect between local government’s need to be internationally connected and their ability to do so due to cost and access to experienced people. 

Philosophy and values

We believe that New Zealand has a lot to benefit from being engaged with Asia, and vice versa. We hope that by opening dialogue and forming meaningful relationships with Asia, New Zealand will become a more vibrant and prosperous place.


Learn more about Eastern Bridge and it’s key people


Learn about Eastern Bridge’s service


Resources developed by Eastern Bridge