China delegation good for business, says Shipley firm
An expanding Shipley-based electronics business, which has launched a new operation in China, played host to senior trade officials from the Chinese Embassy in London. They were keen to learn more about how its products have revolutionised mobile phone technology.
Award-winning Radio Design Ltd, launched five years ago by managing director Eric Hawthorn, has developed products that enable mobile phone operators to share radio masts and save millions of pounds. The firm has started operating in Wuxi, near Shanghai, where it has a licence to manufacture, provide product support services, import, export and distribute. “Our objective is not to set up manufacturing in China for export back to Europe – we are there to address opportunities in the Chinese domestic market,” said Mr Hawthorn.
The visit to Radio Design’s Wharfe Street research and development centre and its UK manufacturing base in Salts Mill, Saltaire, enabled Mr Hawthorn to outline the company’s plans for China. He said: “China is a land of opportunity but you have to be prepared to put in the effort. “Myself and operations director Paul Trigg went out there last year to search out potential locations from which to develop the new operation. “We settled on Wuxi, due to its location in central China and the fabulous high-speed rail link and lower costs than places such as Shanghai. “Anyone here who doubts the benefits of a high-speed rail link between London and this region should visit China and see what it’s done there. “We’ve had some hitches in getting the Chinese operation going but we’re up and running now with five employees at present and this will grow significantly over the next six months. “We see major opportunities, initially in providing specialised hardware repair services, and then creating demand for our customised products with the three main Chinese mobile operators. “Demand is growing rapidly in China with increasing pressure on networks from smart phones as people become more prosperous.”
The visit was organised by the China-Britain Business Council for Zhou Xiaoming, Minister Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy with responsibility for commerce, and his colleagues Pan Jiansheng and Jiang Tao. The party also visited the Spooner engineering plant in Ilkley where they were shown the Olympic Torch carried by the firm’s UK director Steve Newell in Bradford last month. Spooner, which makes equipment including ovens, dryers and coolers and exports more than 50 per cent of its output, recently appointed a representative in Shanghai to help it develop more business in China. The CBBC delegation also visited luxury car customising specialist Project Kahn on Canal Road, Bradford, and historic textile firm Hainsworth in Pudsey.
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