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British industry revs up to meet China demand

By Cecily Liu (China Daily)

08:13, September 17, 2012

Manufacturers of made-in-UK products such as Rolls-Royce cars regard China as a key market. [Photo/China Daily]

British engineering has long been a poor cousin to its German counterpart, but the UK government hopes to change that with new alliances.

Advanced manufacturing and engineering companies in Britain are increasing their exports to China even as the British government shifts its strategic focus from financial services to technology exports to promote growth.

Rising labor costs over the centuries have eroded the capacity of heavy industry, but investment in technology and innovation has kept advanced manufacturing and engineering industries competitive.

"We continuously invested in technology to make our production efficient, and consequently our products are cheaper than that of our Chinese competitors," said Rob Holmes, sales manager of Bulwell Precision Engineers, a manufacturer of aircraft components in the English Midlands.

The company has sold aircraft components to Chinese importers of Airbus aircraft and Rolls-Royce aircraft engines for a decade, including Xi'an Aero-engine Company.

As the imported aircraft and engines are partly assembled in China, the Chinese importers could have bought some of the smaller components from local suppliers, but Bulwell's price competitiveness helped it to secure growing orders.

"We keep labor to a minimum. For example, if we used to have one worker control one machine, we now have one worker control three machines," Holmes said.

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