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Exporting with China

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China has become one of the great economic success stories over the last 30 years. Previously an agricultural society, urbanisation reached over 52% in 2013. China is now the world’s second-largest economy after the United States and remains the biggest trading partner for most Asian economies. It’s a huge and expanding market for UK businesses and holds a great deal of potential in terms of exporting opportunities for SMEs.

Why should my business consider exporting to China?

  • China is the largest country in the world by population
  • There is a fast-growing consumer market
  • There are a growing number of middle-income consumers
  • China is in close proximity to the Asian-Pacific region and economies for export means
  • China is forecast to become the world’s largest luxury goods market by 2020
  • China has a strong government investment programme
  • China has the largest Information and Communications Technology (ICT) market in the world
  • There are over 160 cities in China with a population of 1 million+ inhabitants, with new cities emerging
  • The coastal areas of China are developing into sophisticated urban clusters


Support from the Department for International Trade (DIT)

The Department for International Trade helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy and they also help overseas companies bring their investment to the UK. DIT offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world. The Exporting to China pages are a useful source of information on the website.


China Britain Business Council

The China Britain Business Council (CBBC) is set up to help British and Chinese businesses and organisations work together in China, the UK and third markets around the world. CBBC operate alongside the British Chamber of Commerce in China to support companies of all sizes and sectors from multinationals to SMEs. The CBBC delivers a range of events and provides research and consultative services. Find out more about the Live Exporting Opportunities finder on the CBBC website.


Hunan Friendship Agreement

In 2016, Lincolnshire County Council signed a friendship agreement with Hunan Province in China, taking advantage of existing business and civic links with the region. Following on from this, a piece of analysis was undertaken by the China Britain Business Council to research the economic landscape in Hunan in order to identify areas where collaboration might be mutually beneficial.

In October 2018, Lincolnshire County Council welcomed a high-level delegation of Hunan government officials, and further strengthened the relationship with Hunan by signing an 'Official Sister Region Agreement.' The Chinese prefer to do business with places, people or organisations they already know or have a relationship with, so a trusted relationship such as this can assist with trade between our regions. The activity is focussed around 3 main areas – education, advanced manufacturing and agri-tech.

The agreement will build on previous and current Lincolnshire-Hunan focused activity, as well as identify key areas for cooperation and set out achievable goals over a 12-month period. Due to the scale imbalance between Lincolnshire and Hunan, it is important for Lincolnshire to focus on its strengths and build a defined set of priorities that will help to channel Hunan’s interest accordingly. Lincolnshire will focus attention on the sectors where we have world-class characteristics:

  • Agri-Tech
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Education

By the end of this 12-month period, it is hoped that partners will be able to start building their own relationships between the regions and see tangible results. Providing a one-year action plan is beneficial for stakeholders from both regions and Lincolnshire and Hunan hope to sign a Five-Year Plan in 2019 to develop and realise longer-term objectives.

In addition, the University of Lincoln and Bishop Grosseteste University are already establishing excellent relationships with Hunan universities, and continue to pursue exciting projects such as jointly delivered courses and lecturer exchanges.

This fast-developing relationship also offers many new opportunities for collaborative working between Lincolnshire and Hunan, and it is exciting to see where this might lead.

If you are interested in finding out more about the sister region agreement with Hunan and the opportunities it might bring, please contact the Business Lincolnshire Growth Hub by emailing

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