David Leven: China offers Scottish firms a huge opportunity
Today China has a larger working population than Europe and the US combined.
It also accounts for more than 20 per cent of the luxury goods market globally. And disposable incomes in China are forecast to rise significantly, as many millions of people find more productive and higher paid jobs. All of this creates a massive opportunity for businesses in Scotland.
Chinese consumers are also becoming much savvier through foreign travel, advanced education and information generated by internet shopping platforms. This means there is a strong appetite in China for the story of Scotland, with Scottish produce being all about our natural resources, beautiful landscape, our traditions, our knowledge and innovation and our friendly people.
Scotland’s truly international reputation for whisky and golf can open doors for the export of other premium products and services, ranging from salmon and seafood to our world-class hotels, to our textiles, fashion and sensational craft beers, our universities and much more.
Although a vast country, exporting to China is not as daunting as many might fear. Scotland is well-connected and well-regarded, making it a partner of choice on the global stage. There are many successful case studies to build on and lots of help available to businesses looking to export.
We are also working with Scotland’s industry representatives to combine and grow our effort in Scotland and China, including a heightened focus on social media and e-commerce. By collaborating and innovating in this way, we are pooling our resources, maximising our impact and building a strong platform for the future.
All that remains is to go there. Our supermarkets and shops already boast a huge variety of Scottish products capable of being exported. This is an opportune time to set our sights on filling up the shelves in China as well.
• David Leven is head of Greater China at Scottish Development International