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China exporters more optimistic about revenue than a year ago – Global Sources survey
70 percent of suppliers expect sales growth in coming months; upscale production, efficiency emphasized over low prices
HONG KONG, June 17, 2013 – China suppliers are more optimistic about revenue from overseas shipments than they were 12 months ago. This is according to the latest survey of 503 exporters by Global Sources (NASDAQ:GSOL).

More than 70 percent of the companies surveyed anticipate an increase in their export sales in the second half of 2013. In comparison, 59 percent of interviewees had projected revenue growth in a similar poll conducted last year for July to December 2012 expectations.

Industrywise, suppliers of electronics, and computer, telecom and security products are the most optimistic with 81 percent of these companies expecting higher sales.

Suppliers of toys, gifts and premiums, meanwhile, are the least optimistic with 61 percent of these manufacturers projecting an export sales increase in coming months.

The brighter outlook this year stems from continuing opportunities offered by alternative markets such as South America, non-EU countries in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

The increased focus on nontraditional destinations is reflected in survey results. Sixty-nine percent of manufacturers anticipate an increase in shipments to new markets in coming months. This is 14 percentage points higher than the option's share of responses a year ago.

"Emerging markets allow suppliers to sustain exports as they wait out economic difficulties in the US and the EU," said Craig Pepples, Global Sources' President of Corporate Affairs.

"This is not to say, however, that China suppliers will de-emphasize traditional markets amid slowing orders. Many manufacturers plan to continue shipping to the US and the EU in the months ahead."

Suppliers are more optimistic about orders from the US than the EU. Thirty-five percent of manufacturers said Europe is their current export market, but only 21 percent see this as their main focus in the second half of 2013.

In contrast, 27 percent and 37 percent of respondents cited the US as their current and future target market, respectively.

Survey results also show:

  • Manufacturers are tempering optimism with caution, with close to 60 percent pegging export revenue growth at no more than 20 percent;
  • Companies expecting lower revenue, on the other hand, said reductions could be significant. More than one-third of these companies expect sales to fall by as much as 30 percent;
  • Fewer suppliers are concerned about sluggish orders from the US and the EU. Nineteen percent of interviewees cited this as a challenge this year, compared with 31 percent of respondents a year ago;
  • The rising cost of production and labor is still a major issue for China manufacturers, with close to one-third of respondents citing this as their top challenge;
  • The yuan appreciation has reemerged as a concern, particularly among exporters aiming to boost shipments to the Asia-Pacific.

Climbing the value chain

Survey results indicate China suppliers will continue to emphasize upscale designs in the months ahead to boost sales and profits.

Manufacturers of electronics, and computer, telecom and security products are more likely to focus on value-added production. Many suppliers within these segments have already made inroads into the higher end, spurred by the rapid increase of gadget sales in recent years.

Companies are expected to de-emphasize pricing flexibility and enhance production efficiency as they focus on upscale production. A year ago, 50 percent of suppliers said flexible pricing was a means to support their export business, but the number is down to 42 percent this year. Forty-five percent of survey respondents said they will improve efficiency on the factory floor in coming months, which is 11 percentage points higher year on year.

Global Sources interviewed 503 China exporters from the electronics, computer, telecom and security products, hardware and DIY, home products, garments and fashion accessories, gifts and premiums, auto parts and accessories, sports and leisure, baby and children's products, and solar and energy-saving products industries. The survey was conducted in April 2013. Sales and export managers, and owners were among the high-level representatives who provided their insight and projections.

The complete survey is available for free at

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