Situated in the southeastern province of Guangdong, Xiaolan is a town that lies in the heart of one of China’s most economically bustling areas. Located just to the north of the city of Zhongshan, the town is served by two major airports, one in Hong Kong and one in Shenzhen to the east. There are two large cities further upriver from the town in the form of Guangzhou and Foshan. As such, Xiaolan is a centre of commerce that means British importers are often drawn to it. If you are considering purchasing goods from an exporting firm based in Xiaolan, then what can you expect?
Firstly, Xiaolan has a number of specialisms that mean its economy is both diverse and fast-moving. It was historically known for agriculture and especially the cultivation of Chrysanthemum plants which is why Chinese people will often refer to Xiaolan as the ‘Chrysanthemum City’. These days, it is better known for its production of mechanical and engineered goods.
One of the biggest industries in this sector is lock mechanism production. Not only do numerous manufacturing firms in Xiaolan specialise in locks and associated hardware but they often tend to innovate in this field coming up with the latest developments in physical security. Xiaolan is also well-known in the West as a centre of excellence with lighting products, especially with LED technologies. The trade in LED lighting from Xiaolan alone is said to be worth some 10 billion yuan each year to the local economy.
Some of the general exporting firms based in the larger cities around Xiaolan simply act as middlemen, purchasing directly from the manufacturing firms in the town and arranging for them to be forwarded to Europe and North America. British firms can lower their costs by purchasing directly from Xiaolan-based manufacturers and organising their own freight, however. For example, many big brand names in audio equipment manufacturing operate in the town. The likes of Philips, Toshiba and JBL run some of their OEM production in Xiaolan, so the possibility of importing both finished products and audio components directly can be very tempting.
What’s more, Xiaolan has its own port area. Although freight can be forwarded via Shenzhen or Hong Kong, if wanted, it is also possible to ship directly from the town. The Xiaolan Port Area comes under the jurisdiction of the Port of Zhongshan. Served by the Xiaolan Canal, the port area is ideally located for exporters in the town and goods can be despatched toward the Zhujiang River Estuary directly before they make their way into the South China Sea for their onward journey to the UK via the Suez Canal.