A 45-strong business delegation from Northern Ireland will be in China from 25 November to 6 December to develop trade and to explore opportunities for joint ventures and technology transfer with local companies.
The mission, organised by Invest Northern Ireland, comprises of directors and senior managers from 38 companies, as well as Queen’s University, Belfast, and Belfast Institute of Further & Higher Education. The delegation which represents a broad cross-section of industry, commerce and education will visit Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing.
Leading the mission is Dr Mark Sweeney, President of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the region’s biggest independent business organisation. Dr Sweeney is Managing Director of FG Wilson Engineering, a world leader in the design and manufacture of portable electricity generators, which has substantial business interests in China and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the US Caterpillar corporation.
Most of the companies taking part in the mission are experienced in exporting to China and several already have significant business here including Wrightbus, which has supplied doubledeck buses to Kowloon Motor Bus Company in Hong Kong. Another company, APT has provided digital audio technology to China and Hong Kong radio broadcasters.
Liddell Linens supplies products to Cathay Pacific and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Delta Print and Packaging from West Belfast has two printing plants in China and Huco Lightronic, Limavady, opened an office there last year.
The newcomers include Allclear Environmental, a waste management and recycling company; Finrone, an expert in animal waste treatment; FSL Electronics, a manufacturer of remote control systems; Kiverco, a manufacturer of materials handling systems; and Team Industries, a company providing compressed air services.
Another company, Alpha Environmental is visiting Hong Kong to assess opportunities in the design and development of offshore wind farms.
Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education is also visiting Hong Kong for the first time and plans to appoint a representative to explore knowledge transfer and attract students. The Institute is Northern Ireland’s biggest further education college and has an extensive range of vocational and training programmes.
Invest NI Chief Executive, Leslie Morrison, commenting on the mission, said: “China is now one of the most significant export markets for companies across a wide range of business sectors in Northern Ireland because of the size and rapid growth in this, the world’s most dynamic economy. Over the years we’ve found that companies taking part in our trade missions have received a very positive response and many smaller businesses have developed contacts to secure significant business.
“Furthermore, strengthening business and other relationships with China, for example in education, is now a strategic priority for Invest Northern Ireland. We are also keen to encourage Chinese businesses to build relationships with our companies and to consider the benefits that a location in Northern Ireland offers as a platform for growth in Europe. To this end, Invest NI established an office in Shanghai last year,” he added.
Delegation members have programmes of meetings with existing and potential customers, agents and distributors and with potential partners in the three centres.