RECOGNIZING the rapid growth of Shenzhen and the abundance of companies in the Pearl River Delta which do business internationally, Ireland Investment and Development Agency established its South China office in Shenzhen a year ago.
In his trip to the city over the weekend, CEO Barry O’ Leary said he hoped the office would be a bridge for further cooperation between Shenzhen and Ireland. He identified the high-tech, computer games, clean technology, financial services and pharmaceutical industries as being particularly promising.
"Shenzhen-based companies are performing well in Ireland. Investment in Ireland has seen good returns and we are confident our country will see further investment from the city,” O’Leary said.
O’Leary believes Ireland can offer expertise that would complement Shenzhen’s strategic foresight in the pharmaceutical and Internet industries.
There are many things that make Ireland an attractive location for foreign investors. But the main reason is the talent pool. “The country is No. 1 in the world for skilled laborers. We have a very strong track record of supporting successful multinational investment, which is evidenced by reinvestment of multinationals,” O’Leary said.
Huawei Technologies only had 4-5 employees in Ireland five years ago. Now it has a team of 60-70 people and it is expected to have 200 employees in the near future, according to O’Leary.
"We are very keen to use the visit of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping to Ireland several weeks ago as a launch pad to greater cooperation,” said O’Leary, who will accompany Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny to meet Chinese leaders tomorrow.
About 140 Irish companies have operations in China and the trade in 2011 was 6.4 billion Euros (US$8.49 billion).
Lenovo, Huawei and ZTE all operate successfully in Ireland.
Ireland made visa rules easier in July last year, targeting travel agencies in China. Chinese tourists can come to Ireland with visas to U.K. for a single entry of upto 90 days.
Ireland’s seven universities and 16 technology institutes are targeting Chinese students. There are about 6,000 Chinese students studying in Ireland.
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