Opinion

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Why UK export matters

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The Chinese in particular are keen to buy the best of Britain, including Bentleys, Range Rovers and even baby products. Interestingly, every Chinese baby is supported by six adults due almost entirely to the one baby policy. This brings with it opportunities for exporters of premium baby products.

Imagine you are the aunt or uncle of a new born baby and are invited to go and see the new offspring. You take a gift with you of course. Do you take a gift made in China because it’s cheaper? Or do you take a gift made in Britain which carries with it a little something extra in the way of kudos. I know the answer to this because I was at such a party recently and all the presents were made in Britain except one, and that was made in Germany.

It’s worth remembering that over 50 per cent of the world’s population lives in or near China and they love British products.

As I write this, both George Osborne and Boris Johnson are on separate trade missions in China.

I spent a Saturday recently in Bicester Village, the designer outlet centre in Oxfordshire. If you ever doubted the desire by Chinese consumers to buy British goods its worth a trip. Sensibly, the owners of what is undoubtably the best designer outlet centre in the UK, if not in Europe, have even posted signs in Chinese.

Of course, many designer labels aren’t British, with brands such as Prada and Armani having queues outside their doors but Burberry is British and the biggest queue was reserved for them.

With over a billion hungry consumers desperate to buy brands, we should be focusing more on developing them and marketing “Brand Britain”. So, well done Johnson and Osborne for getting over there and having a go.

India also presents a huge opportunity, especially to the many Indian entrepreneurs who were born in the UK and yet have extensive family networks in this booming nation and continent.

Exports matter but it is important before you engage in attempting an export drive to understand your intended market. Take time to find out what makes it tick and learn some of the language. I always suggest that people learn 50 words of any language belonging to the people they intend to sell to.

It is not essential that you are fluent but it is essential to make an effort, if just for politeness.

By learning 50 words it will assist in your understanding of your potential customer and make him or her more relaxed in your company.

Use iTranslate to write in the language of your customer but try to make sure all documentation is drafted in English and translated into your customers language. This way any nuances will be in your favour and easier for you to interpret.

Stephen Fear DBA is the chairman of Fear Group and British Library’s Entrepreneur in Residence.

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