International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has said up to 400,000 businesses ‘believe’ they could export but are not doing so.
But several West businesses are already trailblazing export opportunities in China.
Bristol and West of England Bureau Chief Executive Dianne Francombe said: “As the Government steps-up efforts to persuade more companies to export their products, several West businesses are already breaking through the cultural and language barriers – and making inroads into ‘top tier’ markets.
“As the Chinese economy continues to grow, The Bristol and West of England China Bureau is working hard to provide the links, introductions and a supportive environment through our various networking and information events on how businesses can access these exciting new markets – which will become increasingly vital to our economic as BREXIT negotiations unfold.”
Jonathan Smith, Business West Market Specialist on China, said: “There are currently a number of local companies active in China, and others who have been looking at ways of getting in to the market.
“It is great that we can work with the China Bureau to encourage businesses to continue their journey and in managing the complexities of Chinese – and British culture.”
The latest companies to open trading links to China include:
6 O’Clock Gin, Bristol
Michael Kain: “We chose China as an ideal overseas market because of the massive and growing middle class. They will buy quality.
“Gin is not known to the average Chinese consumer so opportunity is huge – although not without challenges.
“It is an open market with a positive trade outlook. The Government is stable with a long-term investment and growth strategy.
He went on: “We are still at early stages, with a Shanghai focus. Our second order is on its way. The initial reception to our products in top-end bars has been very good, but we need to invest more and continuously for a longer-term strategy.
“We are aiming to be the Number One super premium gin in China!”
Fine Cheese Co, Bath
John Siddall: “There were two main reasons for choosing China as an overseas market.
“China, alongside all other countries in South Asia, is a ‘sweet-tooth’ country, and has few international brands – and even fewer quality ones.
“We wanted to be first with our stake in the ground for British artisan cheese and partners for cheese.
“We have adapted our products and their packaging for the market in China, placing our products in high-end stories in ‘top tier’ cities where we will be a ‘niche’ market for years to come, but we are in it for the long-term!”
“This is just the start of what will be a long-term investment.
“Our objective is to become a more permanent fixture and respected importer of the highest quality brands and wait for the market to recognise and buy our products.
Jon Day: “Bristol-based W.D.M Limited began trading within the Chinese market more than three decades ago, supplying its first SCRIM® road surveying machine to the Guandong district in 1985.
“The company is the only licensed manufacturer of the SCRIM® road survey machine, which measures wet road skid resistance, and is currently building a third machine for China, for delivery later this year.
“The future has tremendous potential. China has invested heavily in new infrastructure and road networks and will need to monitor and maintain those assets.
“The company is looking to develop even closer links with Chinese authorities, at both regional and national levels, to help them plan and manage future road maintenance regimes.
“WDM® has contracted with Business West and the China Britain Business Council to research the Chinese market on its behalf and is reviewing its marketing approach and documentation.”
Bookbarn International, Hallatrow near Bristol
Khushi Fan: “We have secured our biggest order yet – all the way from Shandong Province in China.
“The order is for a variety of antiquarian titles including Shakespeare and Dickens collections as well as a selection of early bibles.
“Shandong Province was the home of Confucius and remains a centre of learning. It is great to think these classics of English Literature will be treasured in China.”
“We have also sent new children’s books to another dealer in the city of Xi’an in Shaanxi province, home of the Terra Cotta warriors and a city with the highest concentration of universities in China.
“This is the first time we have shipped children’s books out to reading centres in Xi’an. People there are very well educated.”
“Bookbarn has also donated a set of books on Sanskrit Buddhism to the library at a Monastery in Beijing.
“We are aiming to raise Bookbarn’s profile not only amongst the Chinese community in Bristol and Bath but with collectors in the vast Far Eastern and Chinese markets.”