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What these fast-growing foreign markets are buying from Britain

3rd Jun 14 6:04 pm

From school books to rare books, British products are in high demand

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Brand Britain is booming and markets the world over are hungry for UK exports. We’ve talked to a range of experts to discover who wants what, and why…

ASIA: Luxury fashion brands, baby milk powder, medical devices, elderly care products, healthy foods and… frozen trout

Like all parents, the Chinese want only the best for their children, and quality issues with their domestic brands of baby and hygiene products have led to massive demand for British labelled goods – including women’s sanitary towels and baby milk powder.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the demographic, China’s elderly are fast becoming a big consumer of British care services and products. At the time of writing, the UKTI website had more than 20 business opportunities for British businesses in this sector, ranging from interior design tenders for care homes, to suppliers for pelvic health products.

Travel south to squeaky clean Singapore (where imports of chewing gum are strictly prohibited to keep public spaces spot-free), and you’ll find a nation that shares our passion for healthy foods. This is a passion also mirrored by China, where healthy fruit juices, premium pork and seafood now feature heavily on consumers’ shopping lists.

Finally, it will come as no surprise that as the Indian, Chines and Bangladeshi middle-classes boom, so too does their appetite for luxury fashion and iconic British brands. It’s not just established giants of the fashion world driving demand – there’s plenty of opportunity for more affordable, lesser-known brands to enter the market too.

Indeed, so established is the ‘Brand Britain’ reputation, that simply incorporating the words “English”, “British” or “Made in Britain” into your branding can go a long way to boost your sales ability overseas. Find out more in our free e-guide: Your 5-step roadmap to exporting success.


WHAT: Based in West London, Daniel Crouch and two partners began exporting their collection of rare maps and atlases to China and Singapore in 2010.

WHY: “Maps and atlases relating to Asia have always been sought after,” says Crouch. “But until around 2005 it was predominantly an ex-pat market. What’s changed is the increase in Eastern interest in Western maps.”

WHERE: “China and Singapore are the biggest importers of our maps. The Indian market, despite its massive growth in wealth over the last few years, has yet to really blossom.”

TOP TIP: Don’t expect to sell out on your first trip. Customers always like to see repeat visitors, and trust can only be earned with time and shared experience.

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THE GULF: Security infrastructure, solar technology, education resources and equipment, 2022 World Cup

With Britain often dubbed the CCTV capital of the world, it’s hardly surprising the Emirates are looking to us for security infrastructure such as video surveillance, access control systems and radio terminals. Roger that.

Likewise, our first-class reputation in education continues to precede us – with the UAE eager to encourage British teachers and teaching resources into the area. Imports of library supplies, school books, training manuals and even school furniture are in demand.

And our rainy reputation hasn’t dampened our chances in the solar sector either – with the Emirates seeking British expertise to develop solar stations alongside other power and cooling facilities. 

In neighbouring Qatar, preparations are underway for the FIFA 2022 World Cup, which the tiny emirate is hosting. UKTI predicts the budget to exceed an enormous $120bn (to give you some perspective, London 2012 came in at just under £9bn, or $15.2bn).

As well as stadiums, hotels and all the other trappings that come with World Cups, the New Doha International Airport is under constitution. You can find out more and register your interest on the UKTI website.

How expert partners can help you:

Paul Marks, Business Development Director, UPS: “Expanding into new markets requires significant expertise and infrastructure and we’re really proud of how we’ve helped great UK businesses make this transition.

“We provide services and support to our customers in over 220 countries and territories, with nearly 2,000 UPS facilities across the globe. We relish helping businesses to access our network and reach their customers, wherever they might be.” 


BRAZIL: Pharmaceuticals, 2014 World Cup, Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Oil & Gas, beauty products

It won’t be long before the world’s eyes are on Brazil – and registration for procurement opportunities for the 2014 World Cup and Rio 2016 Olympic Games have been open for some time. Yet procurement opportunities are still out there, and include: generators, office and other related furniture, X-RAY equipment for bags and luggage inspection, cargo pallets, scanners, air conditioning systems, tents, Sound systems, lighting, projection equipment and tonnes more.

And it’s not just its sporting prowess that prepares to thrive – so too is the country’s oil and gas sector. With Brazil’s growing middle class consuming ever more, and tourism in the region set to explode, its offshore sector requires multiple floating units for processing and storage of oil for it to meet energy demands. As a result, opportunities for engineering and manufacturing businesses abound.

Finally, Brazilians are good at looking good! According to recent articles in Forbes and The Economist, cosmetics sales in Brazil hit $43bn in 2011, a growth of 142% in five years – and the Latin American giant is tipped to take over Japan as the world’s second largest consumer of beauty products. All of which gives you yet another reason to take that research holiday in Brazil…

This article is brought to you in partnership with UPS


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NOW READ: Eight amazing ways exporting can make your growth explode

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