Brighouse firm a driving force in the Asian market

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Business ministers and officials from the UK have been shown how a Brighouse firm is making its mark in Asia.

During an official visit to China, Francis Maude, Minister for Trade and Investment, took a tour around Halifax Fan’s growing Chinese branch in Shenzhen.

He was accompanied by Matthew Rous, Consul General of the British Consulate-General in Guangzhou, and Michael Charlton, the acting Director-General at UK Trade and Investment in China.

The purpose of the visit was to gain first hand impressions of a successful British start-up in China and to learn about the challenges and issues it faces that may hinder growth.

Managing Director Malcolm Staff outlined the strategy that had made the start-up successful and created growth to over £5m turnover in under eight years.

“Quality manufacturing to British standards was a key factor as was manufacturing custom fans to meet exactly the needs of the clients.

“Rigorous staff training was critical to ensure local quality manufacture and to aid workforce retention, along with the adoption of the most modern technology such as cloud computing to link the design functions in the Chinese factory with the UK base on the other side of the world.”

The visitors were keen to understand the outstanding problems of a British company manufacturing and selling in China.

“The old problems of Government contracts favouring Chinese companies and joint ventures, along with corruption, still present themselves,” said Mr Staff.

“Additionally, the manufacturing environment in China has changed dramatically over Halifax’s time there and rising costs of wages and materials are squeezing Halifax’s competitiveness.”

The company has seen branch offices open in Shanghai and Bangkok to provide sales and service support.

“On the positive side, many Asian and locally based western companies do seek and are willing to pay for quality, efficiency and reliability and their demands are stretching Halifax’s technology to the point that the company has built up one of the strongest design teams in the fan world and can compete with the biggest players in the global market,” added Mr Staff.

Based in Brookfoot Business Park, Halifax Fan Ltd has grown to become the largest fan engineering company in England and is celebrating its 50th year in business.