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Digital Silk Road opens up China market for local SMEs

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24 May 2018

This week a representative from Kaola, one of the largest e-retailers in China is visiting the region for a meet-the-buyer event involving 14 local companies.

Kaola.com, which has a customer base of over 800 million users and is currently providing access for over 5,000 new products and brands for the Chinese market, is looking to work with high-quality Yorkshire brands.

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said:

“It’s great that our relationship with Kaola, built over a number years, and our Memorandum of Understanding is yielding results with the second visit to Leeds City Region in six months. I’ve seen first-hand the potential of China and its expanding middle class market. Initiatives like this support our ambitious SMEs in the region by offering the opportunity to start exporting and enter this market. Get in touch with the LEP Growth Service to find out how we can help.”

The event is taking place across two historic sites, Harewood House and heritage wool manufacturers, Pudsey-based A W Hainsworth & Sons Ltd.

Diane Simpson, Director at A W Hainsworth & Sons Ltd said:

“Hainsworth has been trading in the Chinese market for over 20 years and we clearly see the commercial benefits. We’re delighted to host this meet-the-buyer event to help local companies reach their potential in this rapidly growing market.”

Companies taking part include Bolst Global, Something Wicked, Pink Pig, Picalilly, Principle Healthcare, Taste of Yorkshire, Alpaca Comfort, Multibrands, Little Lulus, Cougar Products, Symington’s and Hebtroco.

This event is part of the LEP’s programme of support for regional businesses to accelerate growth.

The opportunity for Yorkshire businesses in China is significant, with Chinese consumer behaviour is changing at pace. In 2017 Chinese people purchased 28 percent more food and 18 per cent more clothes online.

The importance of overseas trade was recently highlighted in a report by HMRC. It found in the year to June 2017, the overall value of Yorkshire and Humber trade in goods exported increased significantly by 13 per cent compared with the same period to June 2016.