A NORTH East firm of landscape architects is building its business and reputation in China – just 18 months after making initial inroads into the country’s fast-growing economy.
Anthony Walker & Partners (AWP) started to explore overseas opportunities to offset the downturn in UK public sector spending.
The company is now setting up a Chinese office in Shenzhen to capitalise on its contacts in the country, which will initially be staffed by a Chinese member of staff who previously worked in Newcastle.
AWP initially secured work on a major housing and leisure development in Wutan and is now poised to win more work in the city.
AWP director Steve Laws said: “We’re expecting another big completion in the next few days in Wuhan, on the back of the first.
“One has recommended us to the other.
“A new tunnel is to be constructed in Wuhan under East Lake. It’s a tourist attraction, it’s iconic.
“They are also looking for a landscaping company to design an eco-park, island and wetland park .
“We’ve recently done presentations for a holiday park in [other parts of] China and another for a hotel and office complex.”
Chinese work is expected to shortly make up around 20% of AWP’s turnover.
Law said: “We didn’t seriously look at market opportunities in China until February last year, when I first went over. It’s been quite successful for us.
“We have considered other countries, but China is so huge. It’s the size of Europe, you’ve really got to focus on it.
“In some ways, it is a relatively easy market for us to target. A lot of regeneration is state-driven – you can target the right people through UKTI and the China-Britain Business Council.
“With some of the other markets, to meet the right clients can take a bit longer.”