Ruchi Dhir had been following the discussions on Brexit since the day it happened. The vote to leave immediately impacted on her business when sterling weakened overnight and dropped from 1.49 against the US dollar to 1.30 which changed the cost of her imported products overnight.
The protests which followed about the NHS and migration took over, but more recently, trade, globally and with the EU is back in the spotlight.
The Canton fair in Guangzhou, China, is still the number one sourcing show globally and despite the threat of a reduction of trade to the US, the exhibition continues to thrive.
Export to China is also another area gathering momentum. Whilst the Chinese government spent a tremendous amount of time, energy and money establishing themselves as the ‘factory of the world’, and, in fairness, achieved this in the last forty years, their middle class and home spending also increased and China now imports a cross section of goods to satisfy their home consumer demands
Ruchi Dhir found on her last visit in April for the exhibition that its no longer impossible to get hold of UK brands such as
Guangzhou, dubbed as ‘the factory of China’, was once a sprawling city with traditional Chinese restaurants or specific restaurants catering to a particular religion or culture of people coming there for business.
Whilst these still remain and the city is still large, it now caters for the locals and people in the surrounding areas who come to experience the nightlife, the massive selection of food and the shopping.
Guangzhou is renowned for its variety of food, just Chinese food, without the extra choice of international cuisine. China is such a huge country there is the same distance between provinces as there is between say England and Germany or England and Russia so the cuisine, languages and culture vary tremendously.
The Canton fair attracts businesses and business people from every province and Guangzhou caters for them all.
This time Ruchi Dhir noticed that the nightlife and restaurants were filled with Chinese people: local and from other provinces as much as foreigners.
The one-child policy in China has meant that much of the recent generation have grown up debt free as their parents have had one child to care for. Many children have grown up inheriting mortgage-free property and therefore had more disposable income.
Traditional Irish Pubs are massively popular in Guangzhou with traditional Rock and Irish music, mostly with the local Chinese community.
Ruchi could see the massive potential of growth in the market there . In light of the current Brexit negotiations, it also made perfect sense. The export market for the UK to China was booming; for food, music and consumer goods.
Guangzhou which had been heralded as hosting the show for the world for the factory of the world was now becoming a magnet for International traders to supply to. The buzz around the 124th Canton Fair this time was fantastic as it felt to Ruchi like a real reciprocal trading place.
The Canton Fair itself is so large it spans almost a month: Each phase lasts about 5 days and focuses on specific product types:
Phase 1: electrical and electronic products and industrial products
Phase 2: ornaments, gifts and houseware
Phase 3: clothing, footwear and bags
It caters to every product type. Interestingly though, their local Taobao shows are now scheduled at the same time. Taobao is the Chinese equivalent of eBay. The government are aware that there is considerable spending power within China within the local population but control where this revenue goes. They do not encourage Google, eBay or Amazon and have their own alternatives so that the revenue their growing consumer population spends, stays at home.
This may seem very
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