DEVELOP strong personal relationships, register your trademarks and plug into the resources and support that UK Trade and Investment can offer.

Those were just a few words of advice which cropped up at China Growth – a seminar about starting and developing businesses in Hong Kong and China.

Put together by Join in China and hosted in Renishaw’s innovation centre at their HQ in Wotton-under-Edge, the day brought together executives and managers from GFirst LEP, The China British Business Council, The Hong Kong Trade Development Council and HSBC to name a few.

Addressing the audience, Steven Harvey of the Moulton Bicycle Company in Wiltshire discussed how they export to about six countries in the Far East with their biggest market in Japan - accounting for 60 per cent of their turnover.

Mr Harvey said: “It’s impossible to generalise about different Asian countries.

“Knowing one Asian market doesn’t mean understanding another.”

Stressing that the cornerstone to the Moulton Bicycle Company’s success in Asia was the personal connections they had made with people he added: “We found some of our best work was done informally in a social environment.

“If you can make those bonds it just comes back 10-fold.

“It’s far far better than doing anything by email.”

Also bringing up how important face-to-face contact was in Asia, Renishaw’s Rhydian Pountney sent his point home when he said: “Believe in the spirit of the agreements you make.

“They’re more important that the letter, don’t rely on your legal agreements.

“The key is getting the right people in the market who will supply you and who you can trust.”

While Mr Pountney forewarned the audience about the high levels of competition in China he also said that with 100 to 125m people, the country has huge spending power.

China is the second largest economy after the US.

Mr Pountney credited the company’s continued profits in “the dark years of 2008 and 2009” to their export market which accounts for 93 per cent of their sales.

The keynote address at the half-day seminar was delivered by Russell Brown, an honorary chair of the British Chamber of Commerce and the managing partner of LehmanBrown International Accountants.

He spoke about tax planning in China.

COO of Join in China Adam Vines explored how to re-brand for the Chinese market.

He warned that re-branding phonetically does throw up some hazards to be aware of though.

Mr Vines gave the example of Coca Cola which went into China 100 years ago with a phonetically adapted brand name.

The exact translation of Coca Cola in Chinese characters read “bite the wax tadpole”.

These days he explained "their current immersive branding is, delicious, tasty fun”.

Both Mr Vines and Mr Pountney advised businesses which have British brands to “play on the Britishness because it sells well”.

On using the mobile text and voice messaging communication service popular in China, WeChat, Mr Vine said: “Social media in China is huge and it’s a good, cheap way of dipping your toe in the water.”