Former Prime Minister John Key said, at the start of the Level 4 Lockdown, that businesses should be concerned about their reputations.
The $220 million Yashili plant at Pokeno, north Waikato, will make 52,000 tonnes of formula. The product will be sent to China in cans and in 25kg bags.
Yashili is majority owned by China's largest dairy player Mengnui Dairy; European Dairy players Arla Foods and Danone are also shareholders.
Mengniu chief executive and chairman of Yashili International Holdings Ltd Sun Yiping attended the opening. Prime Minister John Key was the chief guest.
Yashili New Zealand begins a new chapter of Chinese offshore infrastructure development, says Yiping.
"With ever-increasing levels of urbanisation, and an increase in consumer demand for dairy products, China is the fastest growing dairy market in the world. The Mengniu-Yashili plant is creating an elite team based in New Zealand to embody a blending of cultures with an international vision and integrated ability," she says.
With food safety the utmost priority, the production plant was designed to operate under strict quality controls and testing will be conducted by AsureQuality.