//Success stories share their tips for expanding into the Asia Pacific

Published 1st July 2019 at 4:33pm

Here in the Sheffield City Region, the same qualities that fired the world’s first industrial revolution now power our 21st-century advanced manufacturing and engineering story.

Companies such as Rolls Royce, Boeing and McLaren have chosen to locate in our region as we’ve developed an international reputation for our excellence in advanced manufacturing.

In our emerging Global Innovation Corridor, companies from SMEs to world-leaders are developing new materials and creating solutions to real life manufacturing and engineering problems.

They benefit from a business-friendly public sector; cutting-edge university-business collaborations, and a geographic position right at the centre of the UK, with super-connected links by road, rail and air.

Key sectors for the region include aerospace, automotive, digital, health and wellbeing, rail and logistics.

Companies here are also successfully building trade relationships across the globe; taking our distinct specialisms to the international market.

Poco Nido, a Sheffield-based company that creates limited-edition children’s clothing and footwear, has established a second company in Singapore.

Founder and designer Catherine Lobley said: “The company came into being because my husband had been posted to Singapore for work. I decided to start up a second company, running it alongside the existing one in the UK.

“The week I arrived in Singapore, I already had an appointment scheduled with a new supplier. To do that from the UK would have been impossible because a small business doesn’t have budget for long distance factory trips. This July. I’m exhibiting in Shanghai for the first time, which is another thing that we would have struggled to do with the UK company.

“Setting up the company was easy, but you need to be on the ball with regulation changes. Finding the right accountant and business advisor is so important. You also have to be very careful of IP infringement. I faced problems with our owl logo and it led to a lot of unexpected cost to reclaim, so if you register in the UK or Europe, do China at the same time.

“As with any expansion into a new area, there are pros and cons. But as long as you have the right support and your business can take on the extra work involved my advice is to do it because the world is so much bigger than just the UK.”

Pricecheck UK, also based in Sheffield, is an international wholesaler and distributor of branded goods which exports to 80 countries including Singapore.

In the first year of focused trading with Singapore in 2015, sales grew by 550%. Pricecheck has built on this success over the past few years and now has excellent partnerships with well-established Singaporean businesses.

“Our customers in Singapore are brand conscious and very loyal to particular brands,” said Pricecheck’s Joint Managing Director Debbie Harrison.

She added: “Pricecheck supplies some of the biggest brand names in the world at competitive prices, and that’s a perfect synergy.

“The Singapore market is familiar with the brands we buy and sell, and we understand what our customers are looking for in terms of product, price and excellent customer service.

“The culture and highly professional way of trading in Singapore is also hugely beneficial. Negotiations are straight-orward, and we haven’t really encountered any major challenges. The World Bank ranks Singapore as the easiest place to do business in the world and I can see why.

“Our aim is to continue to develop our relationships in Singapore and focus our efforts on opening more direct accounts with retailers.”

Want to find out more about exporting into new markets? Contact the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub for business support, by visiting the website here or calling  03330 00 00 39.