Two major sovereign wealth funds the National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) and the China Investment Corporation (CIC) have joined forces to invest US$$50 million each in the recently created China Ireland Technology Growth Capital Fund [For more information on this announcement read http://www.irishtimes.com/business/sectors/financial-services/pensions-reserve-fund-to-unveil-investment-of-70m-by-chinese-group-1.1658163].
This is a huge vote of confidence in Ireland’s future economic vitality. Yet, what’s even more significant is the way this has played out since 2011.
China‘s state media made great play out of the leaders of Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy going ‘cap in hand’ to Beijing in search of China Investment Corporation sovereign funds to mitigate their economic woes.
Not so when it comes to Ireland. State media coverage of Ireland has always been characterised by the highlighting of particular qualities or attributes which the Chinese Government views as the basis for the close relationship between Ireland and China, the importance of which is highlighted by the growing number of senior Chinese leaders/officials visiting our shores on a regular basis.
Behind the subtly of carefully crafted official speeches and commentaries regarding Ireland there has clearly been a sense of purpose in China’s strategic approach. For example, when senior Chinese officials say “China attaches great importance to its relationship with Ireland” what they mean is ‘English speaking’, ‘between Europe/USA’, ‘same time zone as UK’, ‘potentially resource rich (food, energy)’, ‘friendly’. In other words Ireland is clearly of strategic value to China.
In a new world order potentially led by China our Mediterranean friends don’t offer such strategic attributes.
Following the signing of joint government sponsored NTMA / CIC MOU back in early 2012, an initiative involving CIC was always going to bear fruition. The questions to be answered were when/where?
Given that CIC only makes strategic investments which in China’s vested interests, the statement that Irish and Chinese companies in “core technology sectors such as internet, software, semiconductors, and clean technology will be targeted by the fund’s managers, as well as a number of other technology areas where the Fund’s strategy is uniquely positioned. These include agriculture, food, medical, and financial services” clearly offers the chance of a “win-win” solution for all.
Now that there is investment money on the table: China is now set to become a major market for Irish companies in terms of joint collaboration and market access; while Ireland’s technological prowess and investment climate, backed by CIC’s vote of confidence, place us at the top table in terms of attracting Chinese outbound investment into Europe.
Coming hot on the heels of the announcement of the established of a new Irish-domiciled exchange-traded fund (ETF) offering European investors direct access to China’s blue-chip stocks for the first time, the approaching Year of the Horse looks set to be a thrilling year in Ireland China relations.
Managing Director, Accurate Group Ireland China Market Makers (Route to Market, Export, Import, Partner Due Diligence)
China Office : Accurate Group China, Hangzhou – O: +86 571 8709 1253
Ireland Office: Accurate Ireland, Dublin – O: +353-1271-1830