Gordon Johncox, managing director of the UK’s largest independent cider maker, was the only drinks industry representative on the four-day trip, intended to create export opportunities and foster greater links between the UK and China.
Johncox said: “This is clearly a major undertaking by the Government, so to be included is recognition of the quality of our products.
“More than that, and particularly exciting for us, is that it also identifies that we are a business with the capability and ambition to secure the export and partnership opportunities that exist – both in China and elsewhere.”
The trip will showcase British products and services and also explore the possibilities for collaboration between the two countries.
China is the largest beer market in the world. Whilst the market for cider is presently very small by comparison, Johncox said that he hopes considerable potential exists.
“We presently export to around 14 countries and we intend to double both the number of places we export to and the volume of cider we send," Johncox said.
“China is not presently somewhere we have a presence, so we are especially keen to develop contacts on this trip. We are open to finding a partner to import our products and also to explore the option to use our expertise to help develop the domestic market for cider in China.”
Lord Livingston, minister at UK Trade & Investment, the government body responsible for boosting UK exports, said: "More and more UK companies are selling their products and services to China with exports almost doubling since 2009 - reaching more than £1bn per month."