West Midland firms encouraged to think Chinese

2 min read

The <a href= "http://www.mas-wm.org" target= "new">Manufacturing Advisory Service – West Midlands (MAS-WM)</a>, together with Wolverhampton North East MP Emma Reynolds, is to host a 'China in your hand' seminar at 10 am on 28 January at, appropriately, the Oriental Chinese Restaurant in Birmingham.

The event is intended to give existing and fledging manufacturing exporters the chance to talk to experts about doing business in the country. As well as highlighting new opportunities, growing markets and the potential for low-cost sourcing and joint ventures, the interactive seminar will also tackle some of the key concerns and barriers associated with Chinese trade. It is meant to be an initial taster for companies, with them then able to tap into more tailored support through the Manufacturing Advisory Service and the vast experience and resources of UK Trade & Investment and the China-Britain Business Council." Simon Griffiths, chief executive of the Manufacturing Advisory Service – West Midlands (MAS-WM), believes the recent high profile visit by Prime Minister David Cameron to open up new trade links with the emerging superpower underlines growing momentum and confidence from UK companies to do business in the Far East. He points to demand for Western technology, a new found appetite for low carbon and a major surge in the desire for global brands and cutting edge consumer products amongst the affluent middle classes as key drivers in the shift of power. Entry into the Chinese market should not be taken lightly and that is why the former GKN and Land Rover engineer is keen for firms to come forward and make the most of the business and international trade support available. "In recent years, China has been viewed as the big bad player, eating up high volume work and materials at an unbelievable rate," explained Mr Griffiths. "This has had a major effect on UK manufacturing and resulted in our industry moving towards the higher value added part of the global chain; this could now be the right time to make the most of this shift in approach. "Chinese firms are desperate to incorporate the latest technologies and innovations and this lends itself perfectly to the UK's knowledge base, one of our greatest strengths." He continued: "But not only are there opportunities to export to China, there is also a move to bring work back to the UK. We are beginning to see orders return to our shores, from international companies worried about the technical expertise of manufacturing businesses in the Far East. "These factors aren't simply marketing rhetoric. There are hundreds of examples in the West Midlands alone of companies exporting considerable amounts of their turnover. Birmingham-based Brandauer's expertise in complex pressings has seen them achieve nearly £3.5 million of annual sales in this market." And while he offered that doing business with China is not for the faint hearted, "it is nowhere near as difficult as it was a decade ago". Rachel Eade, MAS-Auto Cluster manager, has been responsible for putting the workshop together and added: "The biggest change is a willingness to work together with the UK, as the Chinese are keen to embrace Western technology to enable growth while also working towards Kyoto carbon reduction targets. "Car manufacturers are also investing heavily there and this represents a good opportunity for auto suppliers to get in early with value added parts, design work and prototyping." To book a place, contact philcaren@canyonassociates.co.uk