Business / Economy

Birmingham Fair sees record number of Chinese exhibitors


Dai Tian

(China Daily UK edition)
Updated: 2016-09-07 22:30

Birmingham Fair sees record number of Chinese exhibitors

The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Carl Rice, and Huang Guoren, chairman of Endian Leather Goods Co, with the company's smart schoolbag at the fair on Monday. [Weda/For China Daily]

A record number of Chinese exhibitors are taking part in the Birmingham Autumn Fair in central England-an event that is seen as a pivotal opportunity to market Chinese brands in Europe.

Among the massive range of products on display, toys and furniture were particularly popular exports from China. Both witnessed a 10 percent growth in sales during the past year, according to Fenella Barber, director of the China-Britain Business Council, who spoke at the opening ceremony of the European Showcase for Brands of China, an event within the fair.

"We welcome amazing increases and encourage more in the future," she said.

This year's Brands of China is the 14th annual staging of the event in the UK by China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC).

About 180 Chinese companies have set up exhibition booths at the National Exhibition Centre for the fair, which started on Sunday and will continue until Wednesday. They are showcasing more than 1,000 products, including garments, suitcases, toys and household items.

The promotion comes at a time when many Chinese exhibitors are looking for ways to expand into European markets, especially the UK.

"Our counterparts here are time-honored and much stronger in terms of distribution channels," said Dirk Wu, an account manager at CubicFun Toys Co, a Guangdong-based toy company.

"Compared with easier success in the Middle East, Russia, Ukraine and Poland, it takes time for British distributors to acknowledge our designs."

Endian Leather Goods Co, an original equipment manufacturer, is another exhibitor in Birmingham to market its branded products, which it hopes to sell into the UK market.

"The mayor of Birmingham (Councilor Carl Rice) was taking a tour around the exhibition and was pretty impressed by what we can offer to kids here," said Huang Guoren, Endian's chairman, who displayed the company's newly-designed smart schoolbag.

The bag, with a GPS tracker attached, can reflect lights in the dark and even serve as life-preserver in the water, where it can float as much as 30 kilograms of weight.

"We have already been approached by some interested local distributors as well as e-commerce platforms," said Huang.

China is the UK's second-largest trading partner outside the EU. Bilateral trade amounted to $36.6 billion during the first six months, according to the MOC.

"The trade between the two countries is better than China's all-around foreign trade," said Zhang Bin, an economic and commercial counselor for China in the UK who spoke at the opening ceremony of the Brands of China event on Monday.

Citing the recent launch of direct flights between Tianjin and London and Huawei's commitment to invest £1.32 billion in the UK as evidence, Zhang said it is not likely that Brexit will cast a shadow over the China-UK economic relationship.

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