Ceramics firms will head out to the Far East to showcase the quality of products made in North Staffordshire.
Five companies from Stoke-on-Trent have signed up for the prestigious ASEAN Ceramics in Thailand where bosses hope to generate fresh trade opportunities and promote the Potteries’ offering.
The biennial ceramic manufacturing exhibition, which will take place in Bangkok, attracts visitors from more than 40 nations with in excess of 250 exhibiting companies.
Representing North Staffordshire are Fenton-based Keeling and Walker; Longton’s Mantec Technical Ceramics, Hygan Products in Hartshill, Sneyd Green’s Pebblevale and Longton-based EJ Payne Ceramic.
Jon Hewitt, CEO of sales at Hygan said: “We have been to the exhibition before and we have a big customer base in the Far East. We believe it is important to have a presence there to show off our products.
“It’s a good chance to get a lot of customers in one place rather than travelling around different countries. The previous two shows in 2013 and 2015 were very successful for Hygan.”
Andrew Frost, project engineer at Mantec says the event is a good chance to showcase new products. He said: “We have been supplying our ‘Ultralite’ kiln insulation products and our Bullers Rings, which measure ‘heat work’ in kilns and furnaces, into the South East Asia market for many years. We have identified this market as having huge potential for further growth.
“We are participating in the exhibition to further promote this range of products and to meet new potential customers.”
Pebblevale have been to ASEAN twice before. Rob Stanley, the firm’s managing director, said: “ We have been doing exhibitions all around the world for more than 30 years.
“This particular one gives us a chance to target that area and South East Asia is a good place for ceramics and has been for a while now. You get a lot of customers turning up because for some it is a two-hour flight or even less. For companies trying to do business in that area it is ideal.”
Dieter Guhl, managing director at Keeling and Walker, said: “We have been developing our business in Eastern Asia but not South East Asia so this is a chance for us to increase our exports into that area and hopefully develop a market.
“By going to the exhibition, we will be able to introduce our products to a number of companies that we wouldn’t have been able to reach normally and make lots of new contacts.”
The companies will be supported on the visit by a delegation led by Department for International Trade (DIT), Stoke-on-Trent City Council – through its involvement in the Make It Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire Inward Investment Service – and Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, with funding from the Midlands Engine Challenge Fund.
Councillor Janine Bridges, cabinet member for education and economy, added: “It’s great to see these businesses doing well and looking to expand into exciting new markets.
“This exhibition is a fantastic opportunity to promote Stoke-on-Trent as the UK home for traditional and technical ceramics.”
The event will run from August 31 until September 2.