About the visit
The programme, run in conjunction with the Department for International Trade, the China-Britain Business Council and accountancy firm Milsted Langdon, reflects the growing demand for high-quality UK products in China and the significant opportunities available to firms keen to export.
Among other activities, the businesses were treated to a VIP tour of leading online platform JD.com’s headquarters, visited the Golden Eagle Department Store in Nanjing, and attended an exclusive reception at the home of the British Counsel General.
The firms also had one-to-one meetings with importers interested in their products and were given insights into the Chinese economy and the country’s fast-growing food and drink sector. The businesses visited three cities and met 12 major Chinese buyers.
The 11 firms participating in the initiative included Jakemans (Confectioners) Ltd, AE Rodda & Sons Ltd, Christie International Limited and Salcombe Distilling Company Limited.
China is the second-largest economy in the world and sales of consumer goods are set to exceed RMB37 trillion (£4.4 trillion) in 2017, having grown by 10.4% in 2016. As the country’s population becomes wealthier, the desire for a higher standard of products has increased, and Chinese consumers are increasingly interested in brands which have a rich heritage and a premium product to offer.
David Shalliday, Regional Director, Santander Corporate & Commercial said:
As the purchasing power of Chinese citizens increases – and the country’s major cities become ever more comparable to a developed market like the UK – consumers are looking for premium and high quality goods. For any growing UK exporters in the consumer goods sector, China is a market not to be ignored. Santander’s objective is to facilitate a UK exporter’s journey into China while adding value from the substantial ecosystem of support we have built.
The trade mission is part of our ambition to help the UK food and drink sector to invest for growth and expand – in both the UK and abroad. The food and drink industry is one of the UK’s most successful and fast-growing markets and Santander is positioned to help firms capitalise on this momentum. In 2016, the UK exported a record £20.2 billion worth of food and drink goods internationally, according to the Food and Drink Federation, growing by 10.5 per cent over previous 12 months.
It has become increasingly important for UK SMEs to look overseas for growth opportunities. Companies are stronger and more resilient to economic downturns when they are diversified and have commercial activity with different economies. We believe that China is a prime market for food and drink SMEs to consider, with its growing economy and strong interest in British produced products.