China challenging but rewarding, says Bruton

Some 40 Irish companies are involved in trade mission to China along with Minister

Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton. “We are getting traction on the trade side and the investment side. Things are heading in the right direction”

Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton. “We are getting traction on the trade side and the investment side. Things are heading in the right direction”

 

China is a challenging but rewarding market for Irish companies, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, said during a visit to the world’s second-largest market, with strong growth in opportunities for Irish companies here.

“What you’re seeing is a greater embedding of the companies in terms of the volume of trade. It’s close to 30 per cent per annum in the past four years, a 45 per cent increase last year, and a 20 per cent increase in the number of companies in China in the last 12 months. So there are more companies putting boots on the ground,” said Mr Bruton.

Some 40 Irish companies are involved in the mission, which will travel between Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

Enterprise Ireland’s Julie Sinnamon said the number of companies wanting to do something in China was growing dramatically. “Companies with growing aspirations in the last four or five years, actually wanting to do something and having found partners and a level of trust. There is a complementarity with companies with access to markets,” she said.

Five-day trade mission

“It remains a challenging market for the uninitiated but the interaction is deepening,” said Mr Bruton.

One of the meetings was with the country’s chief economic planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, which Mr Bruton said was a great opportunity for the IDA and Enterprise Ireland to pitch the story of Ireland.

“We’ve had a number of good deals with emerging Irish companies. We are getting traction on the trade side and the investment side. Things are heading in the right direction,” he said.

IDA Ireland chief executive Martin Shanahan said the recent acquisition of the aviation lessor Avolon by Chinese group Bohai for €2.5 billion was significant.

“We’ve had a steady stream of investments in financial services. Five of the six largest banks in China now have a presence in Ireland through their leasing arms, and we are seeing that expanding. And the other sector is technology, where we’ve seen steady growth,” he said.

Irish chips company Movidius announced that it will open a new office in Shanghai this month, aimed at supporting the increasing demand for its Machine Vision capabilities in connected devices such as smartphones, drones and “internet of things” product categories.