A Swansea company has seen its workforce increase ten-fold since it entered the Chinese market in 2017.
CyDen, which designs and manufactures IPL (intense pulsed light) hair removal products, went from less than 40 employees to 450 in less than four years.
In 2018 the company, which began trading in 2009, had to increase their annual forecast by 250% in just nine days as demand from the Chinese consumers skyrocketed.
Success in China has opened doors across Asia and CyDen now operates in 67 countries globally.
While CyDen would not reveal the regional breakdown of their export it said that 95% of its products are now sold overseas.
Simon Boyd, CyDen’s global sales director, said: “When I joined the company back in 2017, I did six trips to China in first 12 weeks. We’d seen signs of Chinese consumers buying our product in Europe and we knew there was a real opportunity over there.
“Even still, we never imagined how transformative it turned out to be. The Chinese population is nearly 1.4bn – that’s more than four times the size of the US. The sheer scale of the market means the potential for growth is massive.
“Now that we understand the model, we’re spotting opportunities in other Asian countries that have the same emerging middle-class as China did five or 10 years ago.”
Wales’ economic ties with China through trade, tourism and universities support up to 2,400 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs according to research by Cambridge Econometrics.
Data from HMRC shows that exports from Wales to China grew 15.4% between 2019 and 2020, the fourth biggest increase out of all UK regions.
Boyd says British companies that are thinking about the Chinese market need to leave their western preconceptions behind.
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“Brands have to realise that business and marketing works very differently in China,” he explained.
“One of the reasons we’ve been successful is because we’ve adapted to the marketing techniques such as live-streaming and short-form video, both of which are less prevalent in Europe and North America.
“We now work with around 50 Chinese influencers a month. They have incredible trust with Chinese consumers and the big stars like Austin Li can sell as many products in one minute as what you sell to one small European country in a year.”
While at the Best of British trade show in Shanghai in 2020, Boyd said he was asked by Wei Ya – one of China’s biggest influencers – if he wanted to appear on her channel.
“I decided to go for it. It was terrifying as I had just 40 minutes to learn four lines of Mandarin.
“It was crazy as I could see the sales going through the roof as I was speaking. That day was a turning point for our business and it’s built the momentum for the next 18 months.”
Adriaan Commandeur, chief membership officer at the China-Britain Business Council, said: “There is huge growth potential for UK companies looking for trade opportunities in China due to its massive population and growing middle-class.
“This has proved to be a gamechanger for companies like CyDen, who have had real success in understanding how the market works and using this to their advantage.”
Last month CyDen signed CNNB Solutions to be its exclusive eCommerce distributor for the GCC region and it looks to grow its share in the Middle East market.