Chinese companies don't know UK Cares
BIG 5: China-based company already has certification from CE and British Standard.
The mention of UK Cares to most of the Chinese steel and aluminium companies at this year's Big 5 show was met with blank looks.
The only certification authorities that were recognised by them were ISO, British Standard (BS) and CE.
UK Cares, which has been trying to break into the UAE market for the past few years, only recently won a job to certify local company Alam Steel Industries' reinforced steel.
Wang Lihe, manager of CMAX, a China-based company that specialises in steel exports said the company wasn't interested in certification from UK Cares.
"We have certifications from CE and British Standard, so I don't thing we need UK Cares. In any case, the UK's requirements are too high so we aren't even looking at that market. The Middle East market though is excellent for us. People here don't really ask us for any certification. Also the UK market is a bit conservative; they don't like to experiment with new products."
Shi Song, manager for another Chinese company, Hong Kong Litong International Holdings, didn't even know what UK Cares was and said that he had never been asked for it from his customers either.
"No one has ever asked me for such a certificate up until now," said Song. "This is the first time I'm even hearing of it."
Even though Chinese building materials may not necessarily be of dubious quality, they seem to have acquired a reputation for sub-standard products around the world.
On being asked if such a certification would help remove the stigma attached to Chinese products, Song said no.
He added that if people did feel Chinese steel was poor, he wouldn't have made the 100 customers that he has at the show. "All the new customers that I have made are from this region. There have been about a hundred - from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Turkey."
But UK Cares executive director, Ben Bowsher, has a different story to tell.
"The Chinese have been hounding us for certification. We've had many requests over the past year from Chinese companies asking us to certify them to get rid of the bad reputation they've acquired. Their steel may not be of bad quality but the point of a certification, along with knowing it's good quality, is to know where it's coming from and being able to trace it. This helps with accountability - that is key to achieving quality."