David Kuo: British businesses should climb mountains and shout about their goods

Investment Insider

It is often said that if you have a good idea it will sell itself.

This is partly true, but you have to tell people about it first. Britain has a solid track record in inventing and manufacturing. But when it comes to shouting our message from the rooftops, the voice of British businesses pitching abroad has registered little more than a whisper of late.

Research from the British Chambers of Commerce confirmed this, showing that only 38 per cent of its members were exporting goods overseas. Given the large number of goods the UK imports, it's a stark reminder of why the nation needs to be an exporter again.

It is for this reason that David Cameron and his delegation of business leaders flew to Beijing last Monday to woo potential trade partners. But what is more remarkable is that British businesses have taken so long to wake up to the huge potential of China's domestic market. Britain exported a paltry £7.7bn worth of goods to China this year, up from £5bn last year. In real terms, that equates to £6 of goods sold to each of China's 1.3 billion-strong population per year. By contrast, every man, woman and child in Britain buys £380 worth of goods from China.

The UK hopes to double its exports to China to £18bn by 2015. However, businesses could do even better if they set their sights higher. China has accumulated £2.7trn worth of foreign reserves over the past 20 years; the key will be identifying what the country wants to buy.

Specialist engineers have already started. Rolls-Royce picked up an order worth £750m for its Trent 700 engines to power China Eastern Airlines' 16 Airbus A330 aircraft. Big consumer brands are another area that show potential, given Chinese shoppers' penchant for superior fashion marques.

Some of the UK's leading clothing brands that stand to benefit include Burberry, Mulberry and Laura Ashley, all listed on the London Stock Exchange. Burberry already sells a quarter of its goods in Asia, while Laura Ashley and Mulberry have tended to be more UK focused. That could change with a Chinese kicker.

Other companies worth watching include Tesco and Marks & Spencer, and Diageo could crack open the Chinese market if its bid for a stake in Chinese distiller Shui Jing Fang is approved by China's regulators.

Without question, Britain has a treasure trove of business offerings. What it needs to do now is climb to the top of the highest mountain and shout about it.

David Kuo is director of the financial website fool.co.uk

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Sport
football
News
Hillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

    £15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

    Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

    £40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

    Day In a Page

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test