Vic Franklin helps Chinese expansion

Zho, importers of Chinese marble and stone, are opening new offices and a showroom near Thetford, Norfolk, following the signing of a new joint venture agreement with a factory in China.

To help them with the development, Zho have appointed Vic Franklin, formerly the conservation director of Cambridge masons Rattee & Kett, as their managing director. They also have a new sales and marketing manager in John Poulter.

The company was set up by Stephen Parker, chairman of Zho, four years ago to import from China carved stone and marble, including fireplaces, statuary and an architectural range of components and products for the interior designer and the trade.

The new joint venture agreement is with a factory in Quyang, now part of the \'economic zone\' in China\'s marble province of Hebei, 200 miles south west of Beijing and with access to quarries employing 130 carvers, sculptors and masons between them.

Stephen Parker said the deal was a major step forward for Zho to secure future supplies of marble, granite, sandstone and limestone.

The development includes plans for a new, mechanised factory and until that is built Zho say they will resist moving into the floor and thin sheet material sector.

Parker says they are poised to satisfy a growing demand for work in the architectural and refurbishment sectors, as well as continuing with their core activity of supplying bespoke carving work and range of products for interior design.