Chinese take a shine to fine china from UK

Updated: 2013-08-12 10:00

By Zhang Chunyan and Susanna Ma in London (China Daily)

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The clinking of cups and saucers also means the jingling of coins in pockets

In the world of ceramics its name has long reflected the quality you would attach to handbags by Hermes, watches by Rolex or suits by Pierre Cardin. Many of China's well-to-do have gradually cottoned on to that fact.

So much so that since the British ceramics maker Wedgwood (Josiah Wedgwood and Sons) opened its first store in China, in Shanghai's Printemps, in 1996, its business has grown steadily. It now has 30 stores throughout the country.

In turn, other British ceramics manufacturers have realized the Chinese have developed a taste for the finest ceramics and that there is money to be made.

Chinese take a shine to fine china from UK

Chinese visitors select British bone china products at Harrods in London.[Photo/China Daily] 

Wedgwood's customers are middle class and upper middle class, says Laura Roberts, a company spokeswoman. Apart from Beijing and Shanghai, cities in which Wedgwood has a presence include Changchun, Jilin province, Changsha, Hunan province, and Chengdu, in Sichuan.

The Financial Times says barely 2 percent of the sales of the ceramics manufacturer, Denby Pottery Co Ltd, were outside its core markets in Britain in 2010 but, by last year, that figure had shot up to 20 percent, much of the growth being in China.

British trade figures show ceramics exports to non-EU countries are bouncing back, after falling to 80 million pounds ($122 million) in 2009. Last year they had risen to more than 100 million pounds.

Simon Willis, sales and marketing director of British Royal Crown Derby, says of the Chinese market: "Sales are continually growing. Great progress has been made, with a particular increase in the past two years because the market has developed."

The British companies have been able to push into China through local department stores and distributors but have also benefited from the rise in the number of Chinese traveling to Britain.

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