Members of the Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SME) Business Club of Barclays Bank of Ghana Limited have returned from a business trip to China, having been introduced to the business culture of that country.
Organised by the bank, the trip was to help develop partnerships and other private business relationships between Ghana's SME sector and its counterpart in China.
It also served as a platform to introduce the club members to the business culture, practices and processes of China, which is currently the most attractive emerging market in the world.
Forty-three people were in China where they attended the Canton Fair in Guangzhou. The fair had a wide array of products on display. The exhibitors were, in the main, suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and service providers who were interested only in partnerships, or at best, bulk purchases.
The items on display were made in China. They included such hardware as building materials, construction equipment, motor vehicles, computers and their accessories, electrical appliances, electronic products, generators, vehicle spare parts and mining equipment.
There were also leather products, garments, mobile phones and other telecommunication products and accessories, watches, furniture, motorbikes, among others.
The Barclays SME Business Club members had good business discussions with some of the exhibitors. Generators, computers and their accessories, auto spare parts, construction equipment, leather products and garments were by far the items which appeared to be of interest to most of the Business Club members and other Ghanaians who were at the fair on their own.
There was brisk business between the club members and the exhibitors. Some initiated deals, discussions which continued even after the fair. The lobby of the hotel where the club members stayed hosted a number of the meetings and discussions which continued after the fair.
Most of them brought home sample products from their would-be partners to help test the market in Ghana before arriving at any arrangements with their Chinese counterparts.
Besides the purchase of sample products, some members of the club also made good purchases and shipment of a lot of products for the purpose of restocking their businesses.
The Business Development Manager of Barclays Bank, Mr Daniel Baah, who accompanied the group, said, "Like last year's trip to Dubai, I think this one has been equally successful. Indeed, the trip to China is an improvement on the previous trip. Most of the members have identified some business leads they would want to pursue further. We can only get better at organising such packages as the years go by."
Mr William Pitt Doe, a member of the club who attended the Fair, commended Barclays for organising the trip. He described the intention for organising the trip as laudable and commended the bank for the initiative which is the first in the banking industry.
He was hopeful that that being the second fair, subsequent ones would return even more outstanding successes.
Some members of the club stayed behind to conclude business discussions and other arrangements and are expected back by the close of this week.