Blatchford chief hopes to forge stronger links in China

Basingstoke Gazette: The Export Growth Award (l-r) Giles Derry, from Dunedin, marketing manager Bernadine Blease, and CEO Stephen Blatchford, from Blatchford’s and EEF region director, Jim Davison The Export Growth Award (l-r) Giles Derry, from Dunedin, marketing manager Bernadine Blease, and CEO Stephen Blatchford, from Blatchford’s and EEF region director, Jim Davison

THE chief executive of a leading Basingstoke company has joined the Prime Minister on his trade mission to China to help drum up business for Britain.

Stephen Blatchford, who heads prosthetics manufacturer Chas A Blatchford & Sons, is among the 120-strong UKTI business delegation, which also includes Basingstoke MP and Culture Secre-tary Maria Miller.

Led by David Cameron, the largest-ever Government trade mission to China, which includes chief executives and senior members of Britain’s most successful and innovative companies, aims to build stronger links with the Chinese market.

Mr Blatchford said: “Visiting China with the Prime Minister’s delegation gives me the opportunity to develop more understanding of the legal framework in which we will do business in China, and to consider the discussions we will need to have to determine corporate realities as well as intellectual property considerations.

“We anticipate gradual initial growth as we implement training and development in this important market.

“China is currently the second largest market in the world and over time will become the largest. We want to establish a presence in China to ensure that we are as successful in China as we are in the world’s largest market – America.”

Mrs Miller, whose focus is to develop cultural links between the UK and China, which can provide a firm footing for future trade, said: “I’m delighted to take part in this trade mission to China, and I’m particularly pleased to see a Basingstoke business participating.

“This proves yet again that Basingstoke punches well above its weight when it comes to business success.”

The visit follows discussions between Blatch-ford’s, headquartered on Kingsland Business Park, with Enjoylife Prosthetics and Orthotics, in Fujian province, on the south east coast of China, about setting up a joint venture and expanding the provision of UK style prosthetics to clinics across the vast country.

Mr Blatchford said the joint venture will follow Blatchford’s development of clinical services in Asian markets.

This will encompass sending high-value micro-processor-controlled knees and feet to China whilst developing local manufacturing capabilities for mechanical parts for use in the Chinese market.

“The cross fertilisation of ideas and techniques between UK and Chinese staff will engender development of both clinical practise and engineering skills in both countries,” said Mr Blatchford.

“Additional staff will be required to support the expansion here in the UK as well in the China business.”

The high-profile visit follows a double success for Blatchford’s after the company scooped two accolades at the EEF Manufacturing Awards 2013, held at Mercedes-Benz World, in Weybridge, Surrey.

The company won the Export Growth Award and Smart Product Award and will now go on to the national final, set to take place in London in January.

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