A North East firm is designing a new future for itself by exporting its services overseas to China with the help of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI).
Architects Anthony Walker & Partners (AWP), of Newcastle, used the UK downturn to their advantage by exploring opportunities overseas. Established more than 40 years ago, the company specialises in landscape architecture and over the years projects have ranged from infrastructure, commercial, residential, education and urban regeneration to rural landscape design.
The company has made several visits to China since signing up to UKTI’s Passport to Export programme in 2010 to develop its export strategy and commissioned an Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) report earlier this year to research potential markets.
As a result the company has seen its exports grow from zero to accounting for around a fifth of its business in the space of two years.
Steve Laws, Director of AWP, explained:
“The downturn in the market in the UK forced us to look at new markets. Our UK based Chinese staff gave us some initial contacts in China but, undoubtedly, the key to our success has been through the relationship with local design partners introduced through the OMIS in Wuhan.
“I would advise companies thinking about exporting to China to make use of any Government support they can get. The support we received from UKTI is excellent. I would go as far to say it’s the best government business support organisation that I’ve dealt with.
“It is also important to really concentrate in one area.China is a big country and it’s easy to become distracted by lots of different opportunities. The key to our success was finding the right design partner in a city which is continuing to grow.”
Looking ahead the company is about to set up an office in Shenzhen in order to build on its success and tap into more projects.
Steve added: “Exports can’t quite replace what we’ve lost in the UK but I can see in another six months time exports may account for 20 per cent of our business.”
Lissa Holmes, one of UK Trade & Investment’s International Trade Advisers, who has worked closely with the company, said:
“Steve and the team at AWP are a delight to work with. They’re focused and understood early on the need to commit to the market which has worked to their advantage. I’m delighted with their progress and hope they have many more successes in China.”
For more information about the wide range of support services available through UK Trade & Investment to help your company succeed overseas call the North East International Trade Hotline on 0845 05 05 054 or email: email@example.com. You can also follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/UKTINorthEast.
Issued on behalf of UK Trade & Investment by Regional News Network