25 British fledgling brands are off to Hong Kong today for a week-long trade mission organised by Enterprise Nation, and their flights are being subsidised by by Gatwick and Cathay Pacific.
It comes as new figures show more UK firms are exporting to the country since records began: 5,792 businesses exported a total of £4.1bn of goods in the last quarter (April to June) alone.
Gatwick launched 20 new long haul routes this year, including to three cities in China: Hong Kong, Chongqing and the country's third largest city Tianjin. A new route which will be the UK's first direct flight to Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, has also just been announced for next summer.
Guy Stephenson, Gatwick's chief commercial officer, said: "Post-Brexit referendum it is vital that we do all we can to improve the country's connectivity. Gatwick currently flies to three of China's great mega cities and we are actively seeking routes to additional destinations in China and other emerging global markets."
Emma Jones, founder of small business group Enterprise Nation and mission organiser, said:
Small firms that export are more confident, introduce new products, are more likely to seek investment and have significantly higher growth expectations than companies that don't.
They don't get the opportunities or the trade deals that big businesses benefit from and yet they still find a way to export, but the frustrating thing is that they would dearly like to do it much more.
The brands on the delegation include:
- Brighton-based jewellery designer Maria Allen Boutique
- Cornish tea grower Tregothnan Estate
- Nottingham underwear brand Little Women
- Piddington Jam – jam company from Greenwich
- Amplify Trading – teaching people to become financial traders
- "Posh party" accessories firm Talking Tables
- Paperboy Wallpaper – selling children’s wallpaper and homeware products
- Tech manufacturing platform Utelier
- Wigan-based logistics company 3P Logistics