Brand Britain biggest in China and India

Living in Hong Kong, I’m always up for a hike. Last weekend I scrambled over a long course of boulders in pounding heat, later emerging at a striking waterfall. I was the only person there. Then someone else inconveniently turned up. The two of us spoke (a bit awkward otherwise). Within minutes, the tattooed airport worker informed me that he was a huge Top Gear fan.

Top Gear, of course, is a massive overseas hit. But it’s not the only British export success. Anyone travelling to China will probably know that brands like Burberry are popular, while Man Utd is all over Southeast Asia like a red rash.

Then, of course, there are things like beer, whisky, gin, cheese and what not – the good stuff in life. Greene King IPA sales famously soared after the leaders of China and the UK were seen enjoying a pint at a country pub in 2015.

So it’s of no real surprise that a February report confirms that “Brand Britain” is popular in less established markets.

The report by Barclays Bank highlights export opportunities for UK businesses, saying that products flying the British flag were more likely to be purchased in emerging markets and that consumers in India, China and the UAE responded most positively to “Britishness”. Beyond these there are fast-growing economies in Africa and the “Far East” (“Far East?” Really?).

British goods are popular for reasons that include integrity, trust and reliability, while the UK is also perceived as innovative – something that was emphasised recently at the GREAT Festival of Innovation.

Among other recommendations, the report suggests displaying the British flag on products and thinking about marketing messages.

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