Gearing up for growth


CHINA IS well known as a manufacturing hub, but innovation and original ideas are concepts the government is keen to foster as it tries to move industry up the value chain.

Galway-based innovation and business support group Invention Services spotted an opening in China’s quest for ideas, and has just signed a €3 million strategic partnership with Hangzhou Great Star, Asia’s biggest hand-tool vendor for the DIY, professional and industrial markets. The partnership will see Invention Services provide new product ideas, business development and innovation support to Great Star as it seeks to add new products.

Invention Services founder and senior partner Ollie Walsh said the link-up was a significant opportunity to develop new products and businesses. “We are delighted to be partnering such a significant player in the hand-tools market,” he said. “Our aim is to provide a channel for Irish and European innovators to bring their products to market in partnership with a global player and with the support of an experienced team of innovative professionals behind them.”

The first product the firm is developing with Great Star is a multipurpose hammer action tool called the RamRod. Launched last week in Las Vegas, it will be in shops by September under the Goldblatt brand.

Great Star is a real giant. Based in Hangzhou in the east of China, it produces more than 30,000 products, which are sold in over 100 countries worldwide. The company has 14 factories and employs over 20,000 people.

Li Feng, Hangzhou Great Star’s vice-president, said the company had been looking for a partner to help his firm tap into the wealth of innovation and innovative thinking that exists in Europe. “Invention Services initially brought us the RamRod and we could see it had global potential. In working with them, we found that they brought us more than just a product idea, they brought expertise in a number of fields.”

Since the introduction of the RamRod, Invention Services has pitched two additional products to Global Star, both of which are now in development. The Galway company encourages businesses with innovative products to get in contact via its website at