Wednesday 21 March 2018

Chinese leader arrives with plenty of questions

Vice-Premier of the People's Republic of China, Ma Kai, is greeted by CEO of the Digital Hub Edel Flynn
Vice-Premier of the People's Republic of China, Ma Kai, is greeted by CEO of the Digital Hub Edel Flynn
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

There were plenty of questions from Chinese Vice-Premier Ma Kai on his first visit to Ireland as he toured the bustling Digital Hub, and also popped his head into the offices of the National Institute for Bioprocessing and Research.

Mr Ma queried, through a translator, where exactly would the funding come from to expand the Irish Government's Digital Hub over the coming decade.

"Perhaps from China," came the joking response from Dublin City Council's senior planner, Kieran Rose, as he chaired the brief Q&A.


So far, explained Edel Flynn, the chief executive officer of the Digital Hub Development Agency, a combination of private sector funding and government funding had been used.

"To prosper in this sector you need the private sector," Ms Flynn said.

And then Mr Ma asked if the Government had any "favourable policies" – aside from providing support facilities such as office space through the hub.

Dublin Lord Mayor Oisin Quinn said many of the world's biggest players in the IT and digital media sector such as Google, Amazon and Facebook, had all set up their European HQs in Ireland. And those coveted big-name brands coming from overseas to locate in Ireland were helped by both Enterprise Ireland and the IDA.

Mr Ma, the senior Chinese leader responsible for economic policy, also stopped off at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to meet with Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore.

On the agenda was the exit from the EU-IMF bailout and of course the prospects of investment in the Irish economy with trade between Ireland and China amounting to almost €8bn.

Soon, Mr Gilmore said, he hoped mouth-watering Irish beef would be winging its way to China, with a working group on beef access meeting next month.

Next up on the agenda is a meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny today and a trip to one of the country's major fruit producers.

Irish Independent

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