DEVELOPERS behind a project which could create 9,000 jobs here have lodged a planning application for the €175m first phase.
The plan involves building a hub -- just outside Athlone, Co Westmeath -- dedicated to Chinese firms.
The so-called "Chinese hub" would give Chinese industries doorstep access to Europe.
Athlone Business Park Ltd has lodged the plans with Athlone Town Council for phase one of the International Trade and Development Centre.
There is no contract with China yet, and developers hope securing planning permission will clinch the deal.
The project, which is expected to be completed at a cost of €1.9bn, could create 9,000 jobs based around nine exhibition halls selling goods from 3,000 Chinese and Irish companies.