UK dairy co-operative First Milk has set up an office in Hong Kong as it looks to begin exporting to Asia.

The group said it recently set up an office in Hong Kong with dedicated Mandarin speakers. “We are already making good headway with turning leads in a number of markets into firm orders,” said First Milk chairman Bill Mustoe.

A spokesperson for the group told just-food the export of its foods is a “growing focus” for the business and that it is “busy building on current sales to Asia”.

The co-operative said it is investing in the exports side of the business with the formation of a “dedicated specialised team” in the UK.

In November last year First Milk said it was plotting a sales drive in Asia. The company had a presence at the Food & Hospitality China Show in Shanghai, following which, Stephen Faulkner, senior executive director at First Milk said it was following up with the trade contacts it had made in order to “take advantage of this great opportunity to broaden our customer base”.

The spokesperson said: “We are following up on exciting new leads [from the show] which has included a Chinese delegation visiting our Arran creamery earlier this year and openings in the Middle East.”

The group sampled a number of its cheddars at the show, including Lake District, Mull of Kintyre, Isle of Arran and Dairy Maniacs cheddar stix.