Asia Briefing: Irish in Asia gather in Malaysia


The Irish business community in Asia gathered last week in the Park Royal Hotel in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur for the Asia Pacific Irish Business Forum, an annual gathering to promote Ireland in the world’s most populous continent.

Up to 400 attendees from across the Gulf and Asia Pacific gathered for the meeting, the seventh such gathering.

“It’s a wonderful network,” said Paraic McGrath, director of ESB International and a co-founder of the APIBF. “We’ll probably revamp it next year, to freshen it up and get more people from Ireland coming out. We also hope to get more people from the chambers in the region involved.”

Established in 2007, the APIBF takes place in tandem with the Asian GAA Games, and aims to leverage the GAA network in Asia by using the fact that so many Irish are visiting the city for the games.

“It was a great opportunity for the businesses that travelled with us from Ireland to meet successful Irish businesses in the region like Steripack and Openet and to learn from their experience,” said Ashley Beston of the Irish Exporters Association, which brought a number of companies to the event.

GAA star
Dublin GAA star Bernard Brogan was also at the event to promote his recently established sports management and professional services company Legacy and to meet Irish businesses in Asia.

“The GAA offers a new parish for Irish people and a link to home – there is a great opportunity to build on this event promoting Brand Ireland in Asia,” said Brogan.

This was the second year the meeting has been hosted in Kuala Lumpur, and the meeting has been hosted successively in Penang (2008), Bangkok in 2009, Hong Kong in 2010 and Seoul in 2011.

Sponsors included Enterprise Ireland, Fexco, Invest Northern Ireland and First Derivatives plc. Among those attending the event were Dermot O’Shea, executive director of Fexco; Tony O’Reilly jnr, the chief executive of Providence Resources; Liam Casey, chief executive of China-based PCH International; and Paul Scales, chair of the Irish Thai Chamber.

There was a presentation by Christina Noble, of the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation. The event was attended by ambassadors from across the region, including Joe Hayes from Singapore, Declan Kelly from Kuala Lumpur, Damien Cole from Hanoi, Feilim McLaughlin from New Delhi, newly arrived envoy to Korea Aingeal O’Donoghue, and the Consul General to Shanghai, Austin Gormley.

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