Twenty-five per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK expect future growth to come from China, naming the country the biggest export market opportunity for business.The economic confidence survey of more than 1,000 UK SMEs engaged in international trade was conducted by Western Union Business Solutions. China was followed by Europe (22 per cent) and North America (18 per cent). China far outweighs the other BRIC nations with India (4 per cent), Brazil (2 per cent) and Russia (1 per cent). “Today’s research is confirmation that UK SMEs are looking beyond traditional export shores to diversify their customer base,” says Christina Hamilton, UK managing director at Western Union Business Solutions. “As expected, Europe and North America remain key trade partners for British businesses, but it is clear from our research that the UK’s SMEs are looking to engage with emerging economies, such as China, in order to maintain and grow their business revenue through exports.” International trade continues to play a vital part in SMEs’ growth. Thirty-five per cent of companies surveyed said that revenue from international trade had increased over the past year, generating 23 per cent of their business revenues. Nearly a third (31 per cent) also said that their business’s international trade will further increase in the next 6-12 months. “It is very encouraging that over a third of SMEs have seen business revenue increase from their international trade activity. While SMEs are still emerging from the economic turmoil of the past few years, they are taking steps to diversify beyond a domestic customer base and to internationalise their offering,” adds Hamilton.
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