The Sculpture Gallery - Woburn Abbey
Three weeks have passed since the excitement and buzz of the ‘Successfully Trading with China’ Seminar at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire. Although media packs may becoming increasingly buried by phone messages, company brochures and new-age fabric samples, memories of the day where many powerful people in the fashion and textile industry gathered to hammer home the endless debate on whether trading with China was going to make their business rise above the rest are still at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
Trading with China may not affect all businesses in the industry but everyone has been or will be affected by the abolition of quota’s in the East at some stage in the near future. The seminar, hosted by director-e, aimed to look at all aspects in which different businesses might find useful and relevant to the many questions running through their minds.
Speaking from experience
The speakers attending the seminar had many different angles and views concerning quotas, the East, and what implications the abolition of quota’s would have on Europe over the coming months. Dr Kegang Wu surprised and entertained his audience with his vast array of photos and knowledge gained from his time spent in China with ChinaLink and many felt that, if time, and lunch were not an issue on the day, Dr Wu could have easily kept us all enthralled for much longer.
A host for the presentations was needed with enough knowledge and experience in the East to guide us all through the day with relative ease and, after spending four years in Hong Kong, Julie King of De Montfort University could not have been more perfect for the job.
Julie pointed out the fact that China is the world’s second largest economy and a key member of the World Trade Organisation. Due to the level of power it currently holds, China is regarded by many as an economic threat to manufacturing bases in the Far East, in particular Taiwan, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Reduced costs are the reason behind the surge of business to China and many are becoming concerned about working conditions and larger companies taking advantage of the fact that many workers are exploited. Whereas the average annual salary in manufacturing in the US is $26,000, many Chinese workers can be earning just 1 dollar a day.
The dos and don’ts
Jeremy Gordon went on to entertain his audience with tales of what to do and what not to do if you do go over to do business in China. Jeremy believes competition is the most significant factor to be aware of, something to consider whether you decide to trade with China or not. It is more than likely, somewhere in the chain of buying and manufacturing, China will be involved in some way which is why everyone needs to be aware of the way China will affect companies in Europe.
Marketing Manager for Sympatex’s UK based office in Warrington believes people need to be aware of the changes that are taking place in China as well as in Europe, “Our product will probably always be made in Europe but that doesn’t mean we don’t need to take notice of the recent events in China. We send our product to be laminated in the East and obviously the huge price decreases over there this year will affect us because we are a manufacturer and people will expect our prices to follow suit.”
“We have strict tests to ensure that our product is used correctly and we have noticed that the conditions of a lot of factories in China have improved recently and they are now getting better machinery to cope with the demands they will be facing over the coming months. There have been a lot of changes over there but I think these are nothing compared to what is to come,” Myles commented.
Taking the first step
Logistics Manager for ASD Europe Ltd, Mike Murrey has experience in trading with China and believes the seminar was useful for everyone, “We have been trading in China for three or four years now and we have learnt a lot along the way. China is clearly the future, we always expected that, and now the prices have dropped everyone is coming to know that they have to make contact with the East.”
“The seminar was very informative, a real eye opener for us and even more so for those who haven’t experienced China yet which is why I think these events are very important,” Mike commented.
There has been a lot of movement since the seminar, Stock London are using their own experience in doing business with China to help their customers in the UK. With their sourcing office in China and a UK based office in Essex the company can help their customer’s gain the advantages of trading with China without experiencing the pitfalls someone with no experience may endure.
Due to the impact of the abolition of quota’s more and more businesses are taking the plunge and turning to the East and finding that the Chinese are welcoming newcomers with open arms making the business boom increasingly larger which will eventually have some impact on all businesses in the coming months.