UK Trade & Investment’s China Design Task Force, currently made up of 12 British consultancies, met for the first time this week to help the industry win business in China.
The existing task force members are Alloy, CGI Automotive, Creactive Design, Conran & Partners, Dalziel & Pow, Design Bridge, Geoff Howe Marketing, Industrial Design Consultancy, Lowey, Quadro, Smallfry and Tangerine.
Under the umbrella of three main disciplines – industrial design, branding and commercial interiors – UK consultancies have the chance to compete for a slice of China’s bourgeoning design industry, which is potentially worth more than £3bn.
A new report by UKTI highlights opportunities for British design in China in financial services, manufacturing, leisure and tourism, healthcare and education.
According to Christine Losecaat, creative industries advisor to UKTI and Government body Design Partners, the Chinese are keen to add value to existing new businesses.
‘It is a daunting market,’ Losecaat says. ‘It is a difficult market to do business with and it is therefore difficult to select a task force. But there are huge businesses there and lots of design requirements.
‘As healthcare develops in China, there will be a need for more industrial designers, from medical design to technology, and the task force will support all of these markets that are starting to become commercialised.’
The task force will host seminars in China about the strength of UK design, and will also share intelligence with the British design community. The upcoming Olympics in Beijing and the 2010 Expo in Shanghai will give Chinese companies international exposure.
‘The Chinese government is committed to deregulation of the financial services sector, offering huge opportunities,’ says UKTI chief executive Andrew Cahn. ‘This will not only give British designers the opportunity to work for global brands entering China, but, more importantly, it means that Chinese financial institutions will start competing with global brands, forcing them to use design to stand out.’
• Each member consultancy has already broken into the Chinese market and it is hoped that membership numbers will increase to 30 in the next 18 months
• The China Design Task Force membership will be reviewed quarterly by a panel drawn from Design Partners
• The Chinese government’s five-year programme focuses on the creation of a knowledge-led, innovation-oriented economy supported by greater domestic consumption