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Wednesday 28 September 2016

Doing business in China

Published 04/02/2016 | 00:00

How to do business in China?  If you’re an Irish business wondering how to get into the biggest market in the world, this week’s Ready Business show is here to help.

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Fiona Craul of Sweetspot sourcing based in Naas and Fujian, and John Cunningham of Epicom, a contract food manufacturing company in Meath that are supplying milk powder products to China, join Brian Purcell to outline how they’ve set up in China and built their companies with contracts in the Far East.

John Cunningham MD and Founder of Epicom and Fiona Craul Director of Sweetspot with Ready Business Podcast Presenter Brian Purcell.
Pic Steve Humphreys
2nd February 2016.
John Cunningham MD and Founder of Epicom and Fiona Craul Director of Sweetspot with Ready Business Podcast Presenter Brian Purcell. Pic Steve Humphreys 2nd February 2016.

Fiona and her founding parter, Susan Dempsey, set up Sweetspot four years ago to assist Irish companies in sourcing manufactured goods from UK, Europe and China.  From drinks glasses to aftershave bags and promotional materials, they have built up a large client base in Ireland using their office in China as a central sourcing hub.

For John Cunningham and Epicom, providing milk powder products to the Chinese has meant a longer process in ensuring that everything is quality approved.  Face to face meetings and building up trust over time is key to a successful client relationship he says.

China is not a place that you would go as a start-up, John Cunningham cautions.  It is a large market who expect companies to be able to deal with larger orders and it is best if you build your company up in Ireland, UK and Europe first before then deciding to approach the Chinese market.

For Fiona and Sweetspot, getting a trusted agent on the ground has been vital to ensure quality of products and goods being sourced.

In our #readybusinessadvice slot, Irish business owners asked about order sizes – ‘usually minimum of 1,000’ advises Fiona Craul, to the main obstacles for Irish business – ‘scaling up and giving yourself a few years to build up the necessary trust’ says John Cunningham.

The benefits of success in China are obvious though and both Fiona and John believe that with the systems and support in place, it is definitely worth exploring as another market for Irish business.

On next week’s Ready Business show, we’re discussing ‘honest failure’ in Ireland and asking should more assistance be given to entrepreneurs that don’t succeed at first.  Send in your questions on Twitter using #readybusinessadvice.

The Ready Business show, in association with Vodafone, is available every Thursday via iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher and Independent.ie. Or subscribe to the RSS feed of the Ready Business Podcast using your favourite podcatcher.

You can check out the full Ready Business Podcast series here.

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