Manufacturer IF looks grow Chinese share

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Manufacturing and design business IF has appointed overseas trade specialist Chamber International to help it develop sales in China.

The Pickering-based firm exports more than half its turnover to 70 different countries and has received a recent upsurge in enquries from China.

The company, whose products include book holders, bookmarks, reading glasses, magnifiers, sticky notes and reading lights, asked Chamber International for a 1-1 China clinic to help it develop a strategy for selling to the market.

IF international sales manager, Isabelle Nourry, said: “Sales have started well in China. We hope it will become one of our main markets and see potential for continuing to work with China International.

“Chamber International also gave us a lot of advice on best practice when dealing with Chinese companies, including the importance of job titles and friendship building, which was very useful in ensuring that we started correctly.

“We were also informed us about operational issues, including how businesses must take care to register their IP in China.”

IF was founded in 1996, manufactures its products in China and sells through book, gift and department stores, airlines, opticians and visitor attractions worldwide including Europe, US, Singapore and Turkey.

Its most successful product being its Really Tiny Book Light which has just been re-launched.

The company, which has 28 staff, has produced more than 100 original items and sold more than 20m products worldwide with 90 per cent of sales being repeat orders.

The business started exporting in 1998 and has a current turnover of £4.5m, about 54 per cent of which comes from overseas sales.

In China 1-1 Clinics, Chamber International visits companies’ premises and uses their computers to help them mine the complex Chinese Internet and gain greater understanding of their sector, including sales potential, competitors and distributors. In IF’s case, Chamber International also brought in international intellectual property law firm James Love Legal, Harrogate, to help with discussions.