China sales help hair removal business grow from 40 employees to over 450 in four years

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A Swansea company has seen its workforce increase tenfold since entering the Chinese market in 2017.

CyDen, which designs and manufactures IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) hair removal products, has grown from less than 40 employees to 450 in less than four years.

In 2018, the company, which began operations in 2009, had to increase its annual forecast by 250% in just nine days as demand from Chinese consumers skyrocketed.

The success in China has opened doors across Asia and CyDen now operates in 67 countries around the world.

Although CyDen did not disclose the regional breakdown of its exports, it said 95% of its products are now sold overseas.

Simon Boyd, CyDen Global Sales Director, said: “When I joined the company in 2017, I made six trips to China in the first 12 weeks. We had seen signs of Chinese consumers buying our product in Europe and we knew there was a real opportunity there.

“Even yet, we never imagined how transformative this turned out to be. China’s population is nearly 1.4 billion, more than four times the size of the United States. The scale of the market means that the potential for growth is enormous.

“Now that we understand the model, we are spotting opportunities in other Asian countries that have the same emerging middle class as China five or 10 years ago.”

Wales’ economic ties to China through trade, tourism and universities support up to 2,400 full-time equivalent jobs (FTEs) according to a Cambridge Econometrics study.

HMRC data shows Wales’ exports to China increased 15.4% between 2019 and 2020, the fourth highest increase of any region in the UK.

Boyd says British companies thinking about the Chinese market need to let go of their Western preconceptions.

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“Brands need to realize that business and marketing work very differently in China,” he explained.

“One of the reasons for our success is that we have adapted to marketing techniques such as live streaming and short video, both of which are less common in Europe and North America.

“We now work with around fifty Chinese influencers per month. They have incredible trust with Chinese consumers and big stars like Austin Li can sell as much product in a minute as what you sell to a small European country in a year.

At the Best of British show in Shanghai in 2020, Boyd said that Wei Ya – one of China’s top influencers – asked him if he wanted to appear on his channel.

“I decided to go. It was terrifying because I only had 40 minutes to learn four lines of Mandarin.

“It was crazy because I could see sales skyrocket as I spoke. That day was a turning point for our business and it built momentum for the next 18 months.

Adriaan Commandeur, Director of Membership at the China-Britain Business Council, said: “There is enormous growth potential for UK companies seeking business opportunities in China due to its massive population and the growth of its class. medium.

“It turned out to be a change for companies like CyDen, who have managed to understand how the market works and use it to their advantage.”

Last month, CyDen signed on to CNNB Solutions to be its exclusive e-commerce distributor for the GCC region and it is looking to increase its share in the Middle East market.

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