Sunday 19 November 2017

The Punt: PCH's new San Fran office full of lofty ambition

Liam Casey
Liam Casey
Ryanair's Michael O'Leary

The Punt hears congratulations are in order for Liam "Mr China" Casey's whose PCH International opened a new office in San Francisco this week.

PCH is the standout success among Irish companies in terms of engaging with rising industrial powerhouse China.

That has been achieved by eschewing the traditional options of either flogging Irish made goods or services to the emerging market in China, or trying to sell Chinese made goods here.

Instead Casey's Cork headquartered but China based company has carved out a role for itself connecting mainly US electronics developers and designers -- including some of the very biggest names in Silicon Valley -- to China's ever growing and ever more sophisticated manufacturing capacity.

Its easy to see where the new San Francisco offices sit in that plan.

Anyway, the Punt understands the new US digs are in a loft style former factory in down town San Francisco, just the kind of post industrial do-over to appeal to the cool Californian design engineers who rely on Casey's Chinese insights to get their hip ideas off the drawing board and onto the shelves.

It will be home to PCH and Lime Labs, a US product design and engineering business owned by the Irish group.

The new office isn't officially open yet, though staff have begun moving in and there is an opening party planned for the New Year.

We're not sure how the new hipsterish space compares to PCH HQ in Cork, but it all sounds very Pacific-rim compared to our grey chairs at our grey desks, under grey December skies in Dublin.


Ryanair Santa Flights put Michael on 'nice' list

IT'S as if Michael O'Leary has seen the light. Slashing excess luggage fees, allowing us to pick seats, not forcing customers to stuff their second handbag up their jumper before they board -- hallelujah.

And his latest move is the clearest proof to date of just how seriously the Ryanair chief executive is taking the airline's new cuddly image. The carrier has decided to operate a total of 24 "Santa Flights" this and next weekend from Shannon Airport, where 3,000 children will get to meet Santy on board a 40- minute flight around Shannon. It's "an early Christmas present", a spokesperson for Ryanair said.

The airline is really on the charm offensive at the moment. Weeks ago it launched a much-heralded online complaint service -- before this it was harder to lodge a complaint with Ryanair than it was to find a coffee for less than a fiver in Dublin Airport. Now it has announced that there was less than one complaint lodged per 1,000 passengers during November and that over 99pc of all complaints were answered within seven days.

There will be no coal in Mr O'Leary's stocking this Christmas -- he's definitely leaning towards the "nice" rather than "naughty" list.


Yoga clothes chief must feel like a right lemon

Any business chiefs out there who make a living from selling fitness clothing to women should remember a simple rule; don't blame faults in your products on over-weight customers. Unfortunately, the founder of Lululemon Athletica has learnt a lesson the hard way.

The yoga-linked company based in Vancouver announced that its founder Chip Wilson would be stepping down as chairman after courting controversy with comments about the body shape of potential buyers of the company's yoga bottoms.

Lululemon, in the early stages of a push into Europe and Asia, was forced to recall some of its signature black stretchy pants in March because they were see-through

Mr Wilson reportedly claimed the problems were caused by women whose thighs were too large and rubbed against the fabric.

A video posted online had Mr Wilson declare he was sad for employees who took the brunt of the outrage from his comments and said he took full responsibility.

Mr Wilson is to continue to retain his board seat.

Irish Independent

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