So it's goodbye Mr China, hello Mr Dolce & Gabbana
Published 22/06/2016 | 02:30
Is this the end of an era for 'Mr China'? Cork entrepreneur Liam Casey gained a lofty reputation as one of the world's most innovative contract-manufacturing specialists. Now, he's changing tack in a major way.
The reason is economics. The kind of products that PCH once made good money from - headphones, speakers and smartphone accessories - are now commoditised items with increasingly tiny margins.
In a Chinese economy where wages are rising but unit prices are not, there is far less profit on offer for all but hyperfactories such as Foxconn, which can take on product orders and still make money from razor-thin margins because of their huge scale.
In this context, it looks like Mr Casey is going knocking on other doors. Drawing on experience from his pre-tech, fashion industry days, he is looking to "move up the value chain" by helping luxury cosmetic and fashion brands to create their own electronic devices. In other words, expect to see bejewelled fitness trackers, smart makeup mirrors or whatever else the fashion houses of the world want to dip into.
It's set to be a challenging and interesting transition for PCH as the market for such luxury 'internet of things' devices has yet to really take off.