Trade with China

Bilateral trade between the UK and China has just reached a record £100 billion. With the increasing number of Chinese middle classes, the retail market both online and offline is expanding exponentially, presenting a significant opportunity for Leeds City Region businesses looking to enter new markets.

China’s population of 1.4 billion ensures that it is a vast potential market for UK products and services. With the increasing number of Chinese middle classes, the retail market is expanding exponentially. Over the past decade UK exports to China have tripled, with more than 10,000 UK businesses now selling goods and services to China.

The demand for premium ‘made in the UK’ products is strong, with British brands often regarded as innovative and high quality by Chinese consumers. Heritage brands are especially popular.

West Yorkshire exported £229 million of goods to China in 2018, rising to £273 million from North and West Yorkshire. The value of trade has increased by 22.5% between 2016 and 2018.

China accounted for just over 3.7% of goods exports in 2018, making it our 2nd biggest non-EU export market and 8th biggest overall.

China is the largest e-commerce market in the world, and bigger than the second largest (Untied States) and third largest (United Kingdom) combined.

The largest e-commerce company in China, Hangzhou-headquartered Alibaba, is already working with over 1,000 UK brands. The most popular categories and mother and baby, health and beauty, and food and drink. There is also significant growth in the pet product sector, and the healthy snack and supplement area.

Alibaba is already working with over 1,000 UK brands, with the most popular categories being mother and baby, health and beauty, and food and drink. There is also significant growth in the pet product sector, and the healthy snack and supplement area.

To give an idea of the scale of the opportunity, on Singles Day (11/11) 2019, over $38 billion US dollars was spent on the Alibaba platform in a 24-hour period. This is the same amount which was spent in the 96-hour period, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, in both the US and UK across all retailers.  At its peak, 544,000 orders per second were being processed by Alibaba during Singles Day.

Get in touch for advice or support

For more information on how we are building relationships with China, please contact us below.

Find out more

  1. Classic Design, Modern Business - Hong Kong

    Classic design, modern business

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    • 07 September 2019

    Here we catch up Chris Black, Managing Director of Leeds-based premium jukebox brand Sound Leisure, about how the company’s bespoke design process is leading to new export opportunities in Hong Kong, China and ASEAN.

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  2. Silver Cross - Melanie

    The heritage brand with designs on China

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    • 01 September 2019

    We talk to Skipton-based premium nursery brand Silver Cross, about the company’s approach to design and how brand is a key differentiator in a competitive marketplace.

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