O’Brien-owned ChinaHR invests €30m in Chinese operations

Recruitment company makes announcement at start of Irish trade mission to China

Recruitment firm China HR, the Denis O'Brien and Leslie Buckley owned firm, has announced a €30 million investment programme to further develop its technology and boost recruitment of senior Chinese talent.

ChinaHR, which is the largest Irish-owned employer in China, said it would invest in the further development of its multi-platform internet capability, which enables job seekers to access and respond to recruitment opportunities at all touch points.

The company, which employs 2,600 staff in 26 cities across China, made the announcement at the start of an Irish trade mission to China led by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton.

It brings China HR’s total investment to date in China to approximately €100 million, and the business has enjoyed rapid growth since it entered the market in 2006.


China HR chairman Buckley said the investment made sense as the Chinese economy – the world’s second largest - was still growing strong at around seven per cent per annum.

"This is good news for ChinaHR, as we continue to develop the future growth of the business. Our latest investment will continue to strengthen Ireland's business relationship with China as well as contributing towards the further development of a leading edge online recruitment offering for China," said Mr Buckley.

The other key element of the investment is in the recruitment of senior Chinese executive talent. ChinaHR has recently recruited senior personnel who will drive the strategic development of the business over the long term. These senior roles include a chief technology officer, commercial product director and a chief marketing officer.

ChinaHR.com has 179 branches across China including Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Wuhan, Changsha, Xi’an, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao and other cities.

Businessman Denis O’Brien owns 75 per cent of the recruiter with Mr Buckley owning the remaining 25 per cent.

The company acquired rival Monster. com in 2013 making it one of the biggest players in the competitive Chinese recruitment market.

“This significant investment highlights the commitment we have in the business in a competitive market environment. We are delivering cutting edge technology solutions to the Chinese market and are putting a team in place that will drive the company’s growth,” said Andrew North, CEO of ChinaHR.

There are 700 million workers in China, out of a population of 1.3 billion, and of those at work some 300 million search for jobs online.

The majority of internet users are in the target 20 to 34 year old age bracket, accounting for 80 per cent of online activity.

The adoption of mobile phones in China further underpins the opportunity in the market for ChinaHR to provide enhanced mobile recruitment solutions.

There is mobile penetration of 93 per cent with smart phones accounting for over 50 per cent of the mobile sector.

“We see a great opportunity in the market based on a combination of internet use and mobile phone penetration,” said Mr North.

Announcing the investment, Mr Bruton said that supporting innovative Irish companies in high-growth foreign markets like China was at the heart of the government’s strategy for jobs and growth.

"Today's announcement by ChinaHR that it is investing €30m in its operations in China is very welcome news," he said. "Increased exports by companies like ChinaHR in China ultimately supports increased employment in Ireland. "

Clifford Coonan

Clifford Coonan

Clifford Coonan, an Irish Times contributor, spent 15 years reporting from Beijing

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times