Exporting to Asia – A golden opportunity for UK businesses

EU exports currently account for around half of all British exports.

However, the changing face of the global economy could see the continued rise of exports to countries outside of the EU as UK business look to maximise their growth potential ahead of Brexit.

Asia presents itself a key export market for UK companies looking to achieve global expansion.

Data from the ONS released last month reveals that 5 of the fastest growing export markets for UK businesses are in Asia. The figures highlighted a 40.8% growth for UK exports to Taiwan, a 19.3% increase to India and a 17.8% increase to Thailand.

And it looks as though the impressive growth figures are set to continue.

Research by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development shows that by next year, Asian economies will be bigger than the rest of the world combined for the first time since the 19th century, whilst analysis by Standard Chartered highlights that Asia’s share of GDP is expected to reach 35% by 2030.

With its current economic and population growth, it comes as no surprise that UK exports to Asia continue to grow. The Asian market is an attractive proposition for UK companies.

Exporting to Asia offers UK businesses access to a population of 4.5 billion people – 60% of the world’s population.  Asia’s powerhouses of India and China alone account for over 35% of the world’s population.

Meanwhile, the growing economies in Asia have contributed to a higher level in living standards, increasing disposable income and a continuing growth in consumerism. There is a demand amongst these nations for UK brands, spurred by the perception of quality of ‘Made in Britain’ brands. In the new generation Asian middle-class consumers’ mind set, a British brand, even one which is not well known, might convey that the owner has taste.

The range of products imported from the UK to the Asian market is extensive.

Everything from UK food and fashion, to UK manufactured motor vehicles and machinery has its place in the Asian market.

British manufactured baby milk formula has, for many years, been a popular commodity in China. Originally gaining regard amongst the Chinese consumer due to the 2008 Chinese milk scandal, where produce was infected with melamine, a regular stream of food safety crises and pollution problems, have led to Western brands to be perceived as safer than locally produced products. Popularity of baby milk formula has increased in other South East Asia countries in recent years also as women move into work and breastfeeding is replaced by formula.

There has also been a significant increase in demand for British beverages from India and Japan and British made motor vehicles throughout Asia, whilst heavy industrial products are valued across emerging markets like India, China, Thailand and Cambodia, where huge infrastructure construction is needed.

By 2030, Asia will represent 66% of the global middle-class and 59% of consumption. With demand already there, now is the perfect time for British businesses to be reaching out to these markets in order to maintain the momentum.


If you are looking to expand your current operations in Asia, or enter new markets, we are on hand to help with your freight requirements. Please get in touch for a freight quotation.