Ulster Weavers ties up deals in south east Asia

Holywood-based Ulster Weavers secured a contract to supply giftware to one of Singapore’s leading hotel chains following a recent Invest Northern Ireland trade mission to South East Asia.

The company is providing a range of products to the upmarket Fullerton Hotels for its international network of eight hotels. In addition, Ulster Weavers won business with the Parkson Retail Group in Kuala Lumpur, one of Asia’s biggest department stores, and has also teamed up with Aussino and Air Asia to provide its kitchen textiles, PVC bags and giftware for sale through the airline’s online shopping catalogue.

Parkson is a mid to upper end department store operator, offering products such as clothing, electronic goods and cosmetics. The company operates under the Parkson and Xtra brands and has 45 outlets in 28 cities across China, as well as 35 in Malaysia and five in Vietnam.

The series of contracts from the mission were announced by Mark Graham, Asia Business Manager of Ulster Weavers, and welcomed by Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director.  

The company, which visited Singapore as part of the Invest NI trade mission to Malaysia and Vietnam, will be supplying products designed by its team in Northern Ireland.

Mr Graham said: “Winning business from Fullerton Hotels and Parkson Stores is a tremendous boost for us in markets where are continuing to show strong growth.

“These important contracts together represent a significant development for the company in Asia, a marketplace we have targeted as part of an aggressive drive to grow sales outside Europe.

“They have reinforced our belief that the business opportunities there for our range of quality products are extensive. The tie up with Air Asia and Aussino gives us direct access to a major shopping portal which has registered over 80 million hits.

“We’ve used several recent Invest NI trade missions to Asia and have found these very beneficial in terms of both leads and new business generated.

“The inclusion of Vietnam for the first time gave us an opportunity to visit a market that hasn’t been on our radar before. I am glad I decided to go there because there are definite opportunities for our products, particularly within the rapidly growing tourism industry in centres such as Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Hue.

“I am currently following up leads from the Vietnam leg and would be very optimistic about business there in the near future,” he added.

Dr Kell said: “Ulster Weavers is now beginning to see tangible benefits from its focus on markets in South East Asia that we’ve targeted for our companies over a number of years. These markets – Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and most recently, Vietnam – offer significant business opportunities across a broad range of industry sectors.

“As a result of this strategic focus, many local companies are now doing excellent business there. We hope to encourage many more to follow the example of Ulster Weavers and other smaller businesses from Northern Ireland,” added Dr Kell.