Small UK Firms Looking To China For Business Growth

UK SMEs See Trading With China As Their Biggest Opportunity For Business Growth

14.10.2014

Steven Beahan, Partner | +44 (0)114 294 7868

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK are increasingly looking to set up trade with major global players such as China, according to the results of a new survey.

Western Union Business Solutions' International Trade Monitor shows that 25 per cent of small firms in
Britain believe working with companies in China would be their biggest opportunity for growth, seeing it as the most significant export market to do business with.

In addition, 22 per cent of poll respondents saw Europe as the biggest export market, while 18 per cent thought it was North America. Four per cent wanted to work with Indian firms most, while Brazil and Russia attracted just two and one per cent of votes respectively.

Furthermore, the survey found 35 per cent of UK-based SMEs have increased their international trade over the past year, with this contributing to 23 per cent of all business revenue for them. Some 31 per cent of small firms forecast that their international trade will increase further over the next six to 12 months.

Currently, exports to European markets are the most popular for small British businesses, as 81 per cent now sell their products abroad, compared to the 74 per cent that did so in 2013.

UK managing director at Western Union Business Solutions Christina Hamilton commented: "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."

Western Union also looked at confidence among SMEs, finding that 81 per cent are currently optimistic about the UK's economic climate, showing a significant increase over the past year, climbing from 68 per cent.

However, the latest figure indicates a slight dip from the previous quarter, when 86 per cent of small businesses said they were confident about the country's financial situation.

Expert Opinion
Considering the improvement seen in the economy across the past 12 months or so, it is unsurprising that the ambitions of small businesses have grown across the period. Many are now seriously considering their next steps and how they can secure new opportunities to take their organisations to the next level.

"Overseas markets may offer some potential in this respect, with businesses looking to trade within other countries and also strike up deals for the distribution of products and services with local providers.

"However, the absolute priority for any business looking at growth either home or away is to ensure they are fully prepared for such a major step. Having access to quality legal advice is a must if steps are going to be taken to avoid any potential obstacles which may arise in the pursuit of success."
Steven Beahan, Partner