In partnership with Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Cork Institute of Technology, KPMG and the Chinese Ireland Journal, Asia Matters held the 5th Asia Matters Business Summit in Cork 23 & 24 May 2019 to celebrate 40 years of China Ireland diplomatic relations and focus on the key drivers for future growth. Day 1, kindly hosted by Cork Institute of Technology,had a focus on Tech, Talent &Innovation.

The Technology & Innovation Summit featured keynote speeches and two panels of expert speakers who shared their knowledge with over 150 participants from Ireland and China including high level government and business delegations from Beijing, Shanghai and Wuxi.

China Ireland Technology and Innovation Summit–Executive Summary

Opening the Summit,Chairman of Asia Matters, Alan Dukes thanked sponsors:Cork City Council, Cork County Council, CIT and KPMG for their great support and the leaders of the three delegations from China for giving of their valuable time to visit Cork and meet potential partners.Welcoming participants, the Chairman of CIT, Bob Savage highlighted CIT’s long history of education, particularly in technology and engineering, noting that CIT produces the largest number of engineering graduates in Ireland.

In his key address on partnering with China, Mr.Song Jingwu, Vice President, The Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries highlighted business opportunities for world class Irish companies, particularly in the fields of AI and virtual reality –speaking of China’s hopes to:

“Jointly work with Ireland to seize the opportunities in the areas of digitalization, network tech and AI development” explaining that through the MOU with Asia Matters, CPAFFC “looks forward to more cooperation at the local level to promote China-Ireland relations to a new level.”

Responding to Vice President Song, Ann Doherty,Chief Executive of Cork City Council thanked Mr.Song for his deep and penetrating analysis on partnering with China and outlined Cork City’s highly successful inter-city relations with six sister cities, including a strong partnership with Shanghai.

Expert Panel on Chinese Companies Expanding into Ireland and Europe

Chair Martin Murray, Executive Director Asia Matters welcomed panelists and emphasized Asia Matters’ belief that developing relationships of trust with the right strategic partners is a key driver of success for partnering with China in both outward and inward investment.

Key Findings

The rate of Chinese FDI has accelerated in the last 3 years particularly within Asia Pacific. Africa is also performing well with the EU attracting more Chinese FDI than the US

Ireland remains heavily dependent on the US & UK for FDI but has won significant Chinese investment recently from Chinese banks and the game changing Wuxi investment.

Ireland’s real opportunity for growth is now – for Chinese companies looking for European access,the UK is no longer first choice, given Brexit instability–Ireland has much to offer as a safe harbor location.

The Financial Services cluster in Ireland, positioned as a gateway to Europe, is a great platform on which to build as proof of concept for future Chinese Investors.

Ireland also has world class R&D – this is a key strength to attract increased levels of Chinese FDI, underpinning the partnerships with Chinese companies.

Building for the future,key stakeholders in Ireland are coming together to build a framework to drive mutual value: a key example is the Cyber Ireland security talent cluster, based in CIT which brings together industry, government, academic and place. This will be replicated in other industries.

There is significant cross over in key areas for China and Ireland to build partnerships including: Automation,Financial Services, Robotics& Advanced Manufacturing

The success of the cluster model is proved by the game changing Wuxi investment. Wuxi will invest €325 million building the factory of the future in Dundalk which will be the first Wuxi manufacturing facility outside of China, a landmark for the Irish bio pharma sector.

Talent is a key factor in decision making for Chinese investors – the skills pipeline must meet the needs of future investors, highlighting the key role of third level institutions.Cork has a proven track record in this regard. Talent is the biggest natural resource Ireland has –we have a young population –for those coming to study and work in Ireland from China, Ireland is a good place to build a great career, safe environment, with employment opportunities by multinational companies with a global footprint.

Mr. Fu Aiming, Director, Foreign Affairs Office, Minhang, Shanghai gave an excellent presentation on Building a Hi Tech Intelligent Manufacturing Belt & Planning in China and planning a “Future AI Town”.

Expert Panel on Companies Scaling into China and Asia Chair Dr Orla Flynn, Vice President of External Relations CIT, acknowledged that Mr.Fu Aiming’s presentation created an inspiring vision for future opportunities for world class tech-led Irish businesses.

Key Findings

Irish export growth to China is being driven by innovative software,services and tech.

To scale up in China businesses need to be China ready – understanding you can’t role out a generic marketing plan for China. State agencies and expert events from Asia Matters are highly valuable.

Building relationships of trust with the right partners in China will help win business in the long term Strategic realism is required to enter the Chinese market.The scale in China is enormous (260 million in Eastern China alone),best practice is to select 3 cities and understand niche opportunity.

Chinese language competency is necessary–along with cultural understanding for example communicating through WeChat given ease of use for Chinese partners.

Speed matters – the speed of change in China is rapid and opportunities need to be seized quickly.

Consumer trust needs to be protected by keeping control of business interests in China and ensuring distribution channels are robust.

Understand of Ecommerce development in China is vital–China is now 15 years ahead of US & UK Which creates opportunities for Western companies who take advantage of this.

The Chinese have embraced technology & Innovation to an extraordinary level yet still value personal relationships – putting the two together is vital.

3rd level education opportunity there are 700,000 Chinese students seeking to study internationally –post Brexit Ireland is highly attractive location. Streamlining the visa process will make it easier for Chinese people to select and come to Ireland improving our location competitiveness –there are still structural issues regarding longer term visas which needs a collective approach to solve.

The Team Ireland approach works, bringing together DFAT, EI,IDA,Bord Bia, Tourism Ireland and organisations such as Asia Matters working together for the greater good.

The Summit concluded with a presentation from Mr. Zhou Minwei, Chairman of Wuxi Municipal Committee CPPCC on opportunities to partner with Wuxi, the National IoT Base for China

For Membership queries, please contact:

Martin Murray

Executive Director

For Partnership queries, please contact:

Samantha Hobbs

Director of Corporate Affairs

Programme The 5th Asia Matters Business Summit Cork

China Ireland Technology and Innovation Summit

Day 1 Cork Institute of Technology Thursday 23 May 2019

11.15Coffee Break

8.30 Registration & Networking
9.15 Welcome Remarks & China Context
Alan Dukes, Chairman Asia Matters
Welcome Remarks & Ireland Context
Bob Savage, Chairman CIT & VP Dell EMC Centres of Excellence EMEA
9.30 Partnering with China-Key address by Mr. Song Jingwu, Vice President, The Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries with response from Ann Doherty, Chief Executive, Cork City Council
10.00 Expert Panel on Chinese Companies Expanding into Ireland and Europe
Chaired by Martin Murray, Executive Director Asia Matters
Robert Pasley CTO WavteqFDI Intelligence
Denis Collins, CEO Smarter Dynamix and Chairman Regional
Development Committee -Board Director IDA Ireland
Gene Russell, Director of Engineering, WuXi Biologic
Lorna Conn,Chief Financial Officer,CPL Resources plc
Barrie O’Connell,Partner KPMG
11.30 The Role of Cork County in Developing the Rural Economy through
AgriTech Sector Support –Cllr. Mary Hegarty, Deputy Mayor of Cork County
11.45 South Shanghai -Building a HiTech Intelligent Manufacturing Belt & Planning
“Future AI Town “Mr. Fu Aiming, Director, Foreign Affairs Office, Minhang, Shanghai
12.00 Expert Panel on Companies Scaling into China and Asia
Chaired by Dr. Orla Flynn, Vice President for External Affairs CIT
Therese Healy, Consul General of Ireland in Shanghai
Stephen Mellor, CTO Industrial Internet Consortium USA
Martin Corkery, Regional Director, Enterprise Ireland
13.00 Working with Wuxi, National IoT base for China Mr. Zhou Minwei, Chairman of Wuxi Municipal Committee CPPCC
Closing remarks by Alan Dukes, Chairman Asia Matters
Followed by Networking Lunch