A HOOK firm that makes and designs plasma research machines has secured a deal in China worth almost half a million pounds.

Plasma Quest, based on The Rose Estate, in Osborn Way, sealed the £400k deal with Zhengzhou University in central China. The deal was won thanks to help from UK Trade & Investment South East. And the firm’s founder, Professor Mike Thwaites, has been awarded a visiting professorship by the university for his work in plasma research and innovation. He has also been nominated for a prestigious “1,000 Talents” professorship by the Chinese government. Professor Thwaites said: “This deal has given us the opportunity to showcase our technology and expertise in China. “This is the second large contract we have been awarded there, but we enlisted help from UKTI to give guidance and support to ensure that this more complex order was dealt with effectively.

“Having subsequently visited the customer in China I feel more equipped to go ahead and negotiate new business deals and am pleased with the support which is available to me. “Taking the plunge and getting out there has paid off and we have already had a huge amount of interest in the applications for our technology across China.”

UKTI China business adviser Chris Lowsley, who helped Plasma Quest and works with companies across Hampshire, said: “Approaching the Chinese market can be particularly daunting, but I see many companies who are technologically advanced winning new business in China’s growing and dynamic science-based marketplace. “It is often wrongly assumed that the UK only imports from China, but British scientific and technically-based products are seeing a huge success there. “Plasma Quest is a classic case of an innovative small manufacturer operating at the extreme cutting edge of science. “I’m working with several Hampshire companies being recognised in China for their unique products and growing their sales there as a result.”

Plasma Quest will now be supported by the UKTI’s Passport to Export scheme, designed for businesses new to exporting. This could be funding to support visits to prospective new clients, market research and market selection.

Plasma Quest has exported plasma systems and expertise to many countries in the last few years.