Although 2020 will be remembered around the world as the year of COVID-19, here in the United Kingdom we are experiencing a historical event that will be remembered for decades: the exit from the European Union – known as Brexit.
According to the Withdrawal Agreement, from this day on, the United Kingdom becomes a “third country” of the European Union. It can no longer participate in decision-making, although a transitional period was established during which there will be no impact on customs or taxation, and in which EU law remains applicable. The final date of this transition stage comes to an end on December 31st. From the first day of 2021 onwards, the citizens and companies of the United Kingdom will experience an important change that will affect many areas of our lives, particularly in the area of work.
In this context, the existing data is rather pessimistic. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) points to a 11.8% reduction in the British economy in 2021, and this figure has undoubtedly been aggravated by the combination of Brexit and the crisis generated by COVID-19.
However, and as Albert Einstein famously said, “it is time to think that in the middle of the difficulty lies the opportunity”. As experts in sourcing for nearly 20 years, we are convinced that the United Kingdom has great business potential by looking towards China and South East Asia.
To date, China has been a powerful trading partner for the UK. According to the Library of the House of Commons, in 2019 UK exports to China were £ 30.7 billion and imports were £ 49 billion. Last year, the Asian Giant was the UK’s sixth largest export market and the fourth largest source of imports. This figure has continued to grow since the turn of the century, as China was the 26th market in 1999, the UK’s largest exporter and the 15th greatest source of imports.
Trusting a ‘sourcing partner’ is the key.
There are many sectors that can benefit from manufacturing products in China or South East Asia and importing them to the UK. As we saw in a previous post on this blog about the most imported items from Asia, telecommunications equipment, representing 15% of all UK goods and miscellaneous manufactured goods representing 11% of all imports, are the two categories of goods with the greatest market penetration. But they are not the only ones.
The key to successfully importing from China to the UK lies in having a good sourcing strategy and, of course, experience. At S3Group, we have outstanding added value since, in addition to our headquarters in London, Barcelona, Shanghai and Hong Kong, we have the ability to be present at both ends of the business chain; in the manufacturing country and in the customer country. This enables us to facilitate the entire process and avoid the typical errors of international purchases.
Beyond looking for manufacturers, a sourcing partner can help negotiate the best prices and handle the logistics management. These are aspects that tend to concern companies the most and these aspects are not controlled when hiring an external supplier.
Importing products is much more than simply an international purchase. It is a complicated process made up of many steps that is only successfully completed if the product reaches its destination as the customer expects. Often problems may arise along the way, and these need solving. A good sourcing agent can help here, saving you management time, money and stress!
The opportunity to manufacture products or source components in China and SE Asia at very competitive prices should not be missed by UK companies. Despite the geo-political tensions that affect the area, it is a good time to take advantage of the commercial opportunities in Asia, whilst waiting for the politicians to reach agreements, and unblock the current tensions.
At the same time, it must be taken into account that the improvement of the quality of ‘made in China’ products is a major factor in its favor. Furthermore, the demanding quality controls that our company submits to suppliers are an additional guarantee of success. With a wide network of trusted suppliers in Asia, together with engineering, logistics and quality management expertise, we take the risk out of international sourcing.
For almost two decades the S3 Group has been working as a sourcing partner specializing in products manufactured in Asia. We make importing a simple, efficient and reliable process for any company, providing competitive value that, now more than ever, may be the key to recovery in the UK.