Despite economic growth signalling the end of recession, UK retail sales have frequently been flat against the same periods last year, indicating that a proper recovery will take more time.

While larger retailers like B&Q and Tesco have turned to China as they expand into new markets, small and medium-sized retailers (SMEs) and ecommerce sites should also be focused on Chinese supply chains.

In this economic climate, lower-priced options will be retailers’ key to success. By engaging with emerging manufacturers in China, any retailer can benefit from the products on offer from the world’s workshop.

As the founder of a business specialising in helping retailers and manufacturers make these kinds of connections, I’ve witnessed just how big an impact good sourcing can have on bottom lines. After selling my first business,, to Amazon, I founded in 2004 to connect international buyers to Chinese supply chains by combining and streamlining the entire cross-border trade process.

Although this had not been done before, we knew that by levelling the playing field for retailers around the world, consumers would see better goods at lower prices and innovative new businesses would thrive. And new policy developments indicate that international decision makers agree.

Recently, recommendations have been made to encourage the growth of SME suppliers throughout China. Policymakers suggest local governments can spur more growth
by reforming emerging industries, assisting with market access and encouraging the development of local banks to help finance expanding businesses.

Chinese initiatives are now encouraging the same type of opportunities to be created on the supply side. As the number of manufacturers grows, so too do the opportunities for retailers
in Europe to be cost-competitive.

The best way to take advantage of these changes in China is to get familiar with the market as soon as possible. By resolving obstacles such as the language barrier, time difference and shipping challenges, platforms like enable Western buyers to securely conduct cross-border transactions with sellers in China.

Retailers that want to take full advantage of Chinese goods as the markets start to rebound should begin engaging with overseas manufacturers now. Try placing a test order to familiarise yourself with shipping and customs requirements as well as to start building positive relationships with merchants.

As it becomes easier for Chinese businesses to set up wholesale and manufacturing operations, those that source from China will surely benefit. Sourcing products from China has allowed larger retailers throughout Europe and the US to pass on savings to customers and increase profits – now is the time for this trend to boom.

By capitalising on the surge of quality goods provided by Chinese manufacturers, retailers can position themselves to expand their market share as buyers resume normal spending habits.

Diane Wang founder,