Right Back at You
By Ian Mount

(FORTUNE Small Business) – China trade isn't all bleak for small American manufacturers; more and more are exporting finished goods to China. Between 1999 and 2003 (the latest data available), the value of goods shipped to China by American small and midsized businesses jumped 281%, to $9.3 billion. Overall, 49% of American companies exporting to China have fewer than 20 employees. Computer and electronic products are leading the way, as Chinese companies import components they can't yet produce locally and Chinese branch offices of American companies call on familiar U.S. suppliers. CLINIQA, a Fallbrook, Calif., manufacturer of substances used to check the accuracy of medical testing equipment, began exporting to China three years ago, and today about 2% of its $10 million in annual sales hail from that country. "You have to look for things that the Chinese can't do themselves," says CEO Granger Haugh, who expects to open an office in China in the next five years. "The issue for successful U.S. companies is really being on the ground and having your guanxi--your personal connections--in China," says Adam Segal, a senior fellow in China studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. "It's very hard to sell into the market from a distance."

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.