Historic Derby firm sees exports to China increase 20%

Royal Crown Derby, one of the few remaining British firms manufacturing all of its luxury fine bone china in the UK, has seen its exports to China increase to nearly 20% of its total export sales in the last year thanks partly to support from the Department for International Trade (DIT).

DIT helped to fund Royal Crown Derby’s attendance at the Best of British trade show in Shanghai last November when China was identified as a market with huge growth potential. The business capitalised on its rich heritage and status as one of the oldest manufacturers of luxury tableware in Britain to gain a foothold with consumers in China who are looking for outstanding quality. The business has been supplying its products to every British Monarchy since King George III.

Royal Crown Derby’s handcrafted range of home and tableware is now stocked across major Chinese luxury retailers. The company already had customers across Europe, the Middle East, South East Asia and Russia. In the UK, luxury retailers including Harrods and Fortnum and Mason stock its products.

Kevin Oakes, Chief Executive at Royal Crown Derby, said: “Expanding our sales overseas is at the heart of our growth strategy. Despite having little to no presence in China just two years ago, it is now one of our top five export markets. There is huge opportunity for British heritage products in the region.

“One of the challenges we faced when expanding into new markets was to understand the finer details of shipping and documentation, which DIT helped us to navigate. DIT also helped us with a grant to attend the Shanghai Trade Show and gain invaluable exposure in China.

“We hold a proud and distinguished heritage that goes back centuries, and alongside continuing to produce quality, luxury products, we must continue to explore new markets and capitalise on the demand that is out there to continue to grow.”

Kevin Oates was selected by DIT to be an Export Champion for his inspirational approach to growing the UK economy through exporting and now encourages his peers in the region to follow suit. Champions will offer practical advice on how to turn exporting ambitions into a reality, and guidance on how DIT can help businesses break into new markets.

Ian Harrison, DIT’s Head of Exports in the Midlands, said: “Goods and services produced by British companies have a well-earned reputation for quality, and UK business can tap into a rich market of global opportunity. Marques such as the Royal Warrant provide an opportunity for overseas consumers to spot British provenance and quality at a glance and tap into the royal family’s global appeal.

“Our job is to connect British businesses with the right contacts and know-how in order to reach their full potential. I’d encourage any business that’s looking to enter overseas markets or increase their international footprint to get in touch.

“We have a dedicated team of International Trade Advisers based in the East Midlands ready to offer support. If a heritage business such as Royal Crown Derby can do it, so can your business.”