Saturday 24 February 2018

Brexit behind fivefold increase in Chinese investor visits to Ireland

Mary Rose Burke
Mary Rose Burke
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

International markets are increasingly looking to Ireland for potential opportunities due to Brexit, with a fivefold increase in the number of Chinese delegations visiting here so far this year.

Dublin Chamber said interest had also been expressed from Korea, Indonesia, and Singapore, as well as the western Balkans, and Belgium.

"We've seen a lot of inbound activity," said Chamber CEO Mary Rose Burke.

Ms Burke said there have been 10 delegations from China so far this year, whereas there were just two in the same period in 2016.

Some have been high-level, and have involved the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Embassy with one recent event involving food, technology, finance and aircraft leasing sectors.

"Everybody is looking to the future, with the change, where potential new markets are.

"We would feel that Ireland is on the map, and on the radar of these countries," Ms Burke said.

"Places like Singapore would be appearing to take more of an interest in Ireland and I would interpret that as being on the back of Brexit.

"People are looking at what does their European strategy mean in the event of Brexit."

Hong Kong interest came from the fintech and ICT sectors, from the ICT sectors in western Balkans and Hungary, and from logistics and maritime transport in Belgium.

One in four firms now think Brexit will have a positive impact on their business as they look at the potential for new markets beyond the UK, a survey by the Chamber has revealed.

The Chamber - which represents over 1,300 companies across the four local authority areas - said that around one in four companies (23pc) believe Brexit will affect them positively.

This is up from one in seven firms (14pc) at the same point last year.

The survey, carried out in the first two weeks of August involving 359 companies, found that the number of firms that believe that Brexit will hit them negatively fell slightly in the 12 months to August from 50pc to 46pc.

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