Accurate China Insight: CIC’s ‘China Ireland Technology Growth Capital Fund’ play underlines Ireland’s strategic value

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.

Accurate China Insight - CIC- China Ireland Technology Growth Capital Fund - play underlines Irelands strategic valueNot 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.

Accurate China Insight-  China Investment Corporation CIC-China Ireland Technology Growth Capital Fund play underlines Irelands strategic value

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.

Niall O’Reilly

Managing Director, Accurate Group Ireland China Market Makers (Route to Market, Export, Import, Partner Due Diligence)

Website: http://www.accuratelimited.com

Twitter: @AccurateChina

China Office : Accurate Group China, Hangzhou – O: +86 571 8709 1253

Ireland Office: Accurate Ireland, Dublin – O: +353-1271-1830

New Year’s Eve: Ireland’s last sunset of 2013

The last sunset of 2013 in Ireland - Dun Laoghaire
“Shedding its final gold of the old year..” The last sunset of 2013 in Ireland – Dun Laoghaire

Shedding its final gold of the old year

Amid fading crepuscular glimpses

The setting sun sinks into obscurity uncharted.

In the hushed stillness below the starlight the closing stages slowly but surely tick down to the peals of Midnight.

A fresh breeze in anticipation of sunrise at what time the first bird impatiently sings the dreams of a new dawn.

Harmony.

Happy New Year!!

How important will China and knowledge of China be in Ireland’s future?

Encouraged by captains of Irish industry, who should know better, Opposition politicians with an agenda, and armchair critics within the tabloid and online media, a degree of pessimism appears to be growing among Ireland‘s small to medium (SME) sized business sector regarding the ‘risk versus reward’ futility of getting involved in China business. More mature markets in EU and the USA are being represented as offering more scope to grow for Irish SMEs with the right value proposition.

Irish businesses no matter what their size cannot afford to be pessimistic about China and here is why.

“…China’s transformation is one of the defining facts of our lifetime. Last year China became the world’s largest trading nation. Next year China is set to become the world’s largest importer of goods and later this century it will become the world’s biggest economy.

We should be clear that there is a genuine choice for every country over how to respond to this growing openness and success. They can choose to see China’s rise as a threat or an opportunity. They can protect their markets from China or open their markets to China. They can try and shut China out – or welcome China as a partner at the top table of global affairs..”

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/02/david-cameron-my-visit-to-china

The British Prime Minister Mr. David Cameron, on the eve of his second official visit, in an article published this week in Caixin (pronounced ‘sigh sheen‘), China’s financial news heavyweight, couldn’t have been more explicit about China’s growing importance.

Accurate China Insight - How important will China and knowledge of China be in Irelands future

Most China watchers will agree that – largest, longest, fastest, biggest, greatest, tallest superlatives aside- China is still in the very early stages of its re-emergence: Get in on the ground floor now and potentially be in the happy position of earning revenue hand over fist.

Sure China is no cake walk. At the beginning, building a China market presence from scratch involves hassles, stumbles, issues, errors, problems, stresses and utter confusion.  Yet, isn’t that what getting in at the beginning of any start-up business or market looks like? The only way to WIN is through hard work, support, communication, committment, patience, and understanding that there will be many instances of having to deal with a lot of confusion. Similar to a start-up company, these are the learning steps that must be taken to break new ground and grow a viable market presence in China.  

In a start-up there also comes a point when the challenges start to be overcome and things begin to gel together. And so to in insatiable China where the surmounting of challenges and barriers or difficulties will open the way to doing fantastic things and improving on a daily basis faster than would have happened in more traditional, mature, markets. 

With certain senior business executives and media in Ireland advocating a niche market approach for SMEs with respect to China [“China is a … slow burn” (Mr. Sean O’Driscoll, CEO Glen Dimplex); “More fortunes have been lost than made by getting in too early,” (Liam O’Mahony, Chairman, IDA Ireland) “Putting Mandarin on the school curriculum is a typical proposal from armchair ‘experts’ who have no experience of the challenges of selling in China – – 1.3bn consumers and all we need is a very tiny slice of the pie!” (Michael Hennigan, Editor of Finfacts.ie)] the crux of this Accurate China Insight is to draw attention to the fact that almost all of Accurate Group’s Irish clients, no matter what size, doing business in China or with China succeed at it, while the vast majority of European and American companies in China are flourishing.

Moreover, we do not share the view that China is a particularly risky market for foreign companies. Like any foreign market with a unique language, business culture, and legal system something can go wrong. However, despite the challenges China remains, will continue to remain a very profitable place to do business, which is really what matters most for Irish businesses.

Returning to David Cameron:

China is at a defining moment. It has just announced bold reforms that show real ambition to free its markets and open them up to foreign participation…

As Chinese cities expand dramatically and Chinese people become more prosperous, Britain has the world-class goods and services they need…

Building on the recent launch of EU-China negotiations on investment, and on China’s continued commitment to economic reform, I now want to set a new long-term goal of an ambitious and comprehensive EU-China Free Trade Agreement. And as I have on the EU-US deal, so I will put my full political weight behind such a deal that could be worth tens of billions of dollars every year…

We should recognise that China’s economic transformation is happening at 100 times the scale and 10 times the speed of Britain’s own urbanisation two centuries ago. In the last 30 years, China has made unprecedented social and economic achievements. The recent meeting of China’s leaders – the Third Plenum – has now set a clear goal: comprehensive reform, including issues such as governance and the judicial protection of human rights, and recognising that all types of reform are inextricably linked. The promise is of an economy with a more predictable legal environment and with stricter enforcement of protection for intellectual property rights…

The fact is that businesses thrive in a stable, secure and corruption-free environment that limits the risk of shock, provides certainty of dispute resolution and offers protection of capital and intellectual assets. These conditions are good for growth in China…

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/02/david-cameron-my-visit-to-china

And therein lies the rub for all Irish businesses. For our closest neighbour China is now at the core of its international trade relations. With the Chinese Yuan surpassing the Euro to become the second-most used currency in global trade (Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-03/yuan-passes-euro-to-be-second-most-used-trade-finance-currency.html, China, the number one retail growth opportunity in the world (Source: http://yum.com/annualreport/), is where it is happening NOW. Moreover,  the best has yet to come! 

Ireland’s SME’s should be able to determine a new China business model that suits their situation. Top management and business owners who are destructively determined to succeed by increasing efforts to ‘do more of the same better’ in their traditional markets and ignore the potential of China are going to lose out in the medium and long term.

Irish businesses across the board need to intensify efforts to tap the China market otherwise they will be left behind.

Accurate China Insight - How important will China and knowledge of China be in Irelands future 2

Source: Accurate China Insight http://accuratelimited.com/blog.view.php?id=SreDdexWHkE=

Niall O’Reilly

Managing Director, Accurate Group Ireland China Market Makers (Route to Market, Export, Import, Partner Due Diligence)

Website: http://www.accuratelimited.com

Twitter: @AccurateChina

China Office : Accurate Group China, Hangzhou – O: +86 571 8709 1253

Ireland Office: Accurate Ireland, Dublin – O: +353-1271-1830

Accurate China Insight: Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai to pay official visit to Ireland

Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai will pay official visit to Ireland early in the week of 27th October 2013

A “princeling” (his father was a Minister of Finance and Trade), Shanghai born Ma Kai is a Wen Jiabao protege, and 4th ranked of the 4 vice ministers, will arrive in Dublin next week for talks with Eamon Gilmore “Irelands deputy prime minister (Source / read more: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/special/18cpcnc/2012-11/15/c_131977291.htm)

According to Bloomberg (Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-16/who-s-who-in-china-s-new-government-leadership-lineup.html) Vice Premier Ma is “..one of the top officials in charge of running the world’s second-biggest economy”..

What agreement will Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore ( An Tanaiste) be signing when Chinese Vice Premier Ma kai comes to town?
What agreement will Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore ( An Tanaiste) be signing when Chinese Vice Premier Ma kai comes to town?

Recently he has been very much at the forefront of EU-China dialogue:

  • Prior to his visit to Ireland Vice Premier Ma is leading the Chinese delegation at the fourth High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue taking place today in Brussels to discuss trade and investment frictions.
  • Last week he also co-hosted with Chancellor George Osborne the recent 5th UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue at which London’s role as a global offshore hub for RMB trading and consequently a hub for RMB investment into China were strengthened.

On his visit to Ireland Vice Premier Ma will possibly be accompanied by Trade Minister Gao Hucheng and it will be interesting to see whether the potential for cooperation with our own financial sector, as in IFSC, is raised in deliberations with their Irish counterparts. Or perhaps in the face of moves towards EU tax harmonisation and recent coups regarding London’s role as a global offshore hub for RMB trading the Chinese no longer view the IFSC offering as being attractive, if they ever did.

Is Ireland's IFSC an attractive investment proposition for China's financial institutions?
Is Ireland’s IFSC an attractive investment proposition for China’s financial institutions?

Source: http://www.accuratelimited.com/blog.view.php?id=HRIh4I2qAKE=

Niall O’Reilly

Managing Director, Accurate Group Ireland China Market Makers (Route to Market, Export, Import, Partner Due Diligence)

Website: http://www.accuratelimited.com

Twitter: @AccurateChina

China Office : Niall O’Reilly, Accurate Group China 1-3 Ying Hui Xing Zhou, Jiang Nan Shui Xiang Lian Sheng Road, Yu Hang District, Hangzhou. China 310023| O: +86 571 8709 1253

Ireland Office: Niall O’Reilly, Accurate Ireland 93 Upper Georges Street, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland| O: +353-1271-1830

A 68 year-old photograph reveals an Irish prisoner of the Japanese – “Uncle Barney” Byrne

It’s almost 68 years to the day on 28th August 1945 when the photograph below of  twenty-three Hong Kong Volunteer Defense Corps (HKVDC) prisoners of war (POW) who were on the verge of liberation following their internment at Yoshima POW Camp (Sendai No. 2 Branch Camp (#2-B)) in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture was snapped.

It was at this POW Camp where Private John Bernard Patrick ByrneBarney-, HKVDC #4732, and POW #96 was to spend:

13 months incarcerated … nine months incapacitated by amoebic dysentery …. and five months used as a slave labourer inside the Iwake coal-mine run by the Furukawa Mining Company

as written in ‘Diary of War: Private John Bernard Patrick Byrne (a.k.a “Barney”), HKVDC #4732, and Irish Prisoner of the Japanese in Shamshuipo and Sendai (1941-1945)’ https://nialljoreilly.com/2012/12/07/john-bernard-patrick-byrne-barney/ – “the remarkable account of life as an Irish prisoner of the Japanese by an extraordinary man, “Uncle” Barney Byrne“.

On 5th August, while perusing a photograph album dating back to the 1930s belonging to my late mother Kathryn O’Reilly, I came upon two photographs of Barney during his childhood and as a young adult.

I soon found myself scrutinising the HKVDC POW photo below (Source: http://www.mansell.com/pow_resources/camplists/sendai/sendai_2/sendai-2-03-ROCHA.jpg  courtesy of a Chris Rocha).

Appendix 05: ‘I knew your Uncle’ in the Diary written by fellow POW Alfredo Jose Prata noted:

“… a tatamie bunkmate of Barney’s “(Barney) and others of the HKVDC (mixture of  British, Polish, French  Norwegian, Swede, Czech and a few Americans) shared the same No.2 (combined hospital) hut with some 120 odd Portuguese POWs from Nos.5 and 6 Portuguese Coy HKVDC (and worked  in the same shifts in separate shafts in the coalmines).”

There are also a variety of nationalities in the photo. My attention was soon focused on the somewhat malnourished and tired looking man sitting at the far right of the bottom row.

Compare this man’s nose, the ears, the eyes and hair parting of to the two photographs from my mother’s album below.  Re-checking his diary entries for 28th and 29th of August 1945 in one instance Barney Byrne complains of having gone 72 hours without sleep, while in another instance he notes: “Photographs taken today – personnel only” .

After sixty-eight years the face now has a name: Private John Bernard Patrick ByrneBarneyHKVDC #4732 – Irish Prisoner of the Japanese in Shamshuipo, Hong Kong, and Sendai, Japan (1941-1945)

… when fighting was certain, and either capture or death highly likely (Barney) doesn’t show one glimpse of regret or self-pity. What a remarkable man…

[Source: Brian Edgar, 8th August 2013 @gwulo.com]

POW # 96 Private John Bernard Patrick Byrne - aka Barney - Irish Prisoner of the Japanese - at Yoshima POW Camp Sendai 2B - is seated bottom row - far right. The photograph was taken on 28th August 1945.  (Source: www.mansell.com)
POW # 96 Private John Bernard Patrick Byrne – aka Barney – Irish Prisoner of the Japanese – at Yoshima POW Camp Sendai 2B – is seated bottom row – far right. The photograph was taken on 28th August 1945. (Source: http://www.mansell.com)
My Grandfather James Byrne, Senior, James Byrne Junior. and Barney Byrne (right).
My Grandfather James Byrne, Senior, James Byrne Junior. and Barney Byrne (right).
John Bernard Patrick Byrne - Barney - early childhood
Childhood- Barney Byrne

Our Great Little Nation (sic): Ten things you can do in Ireland that almost certainly won’t land you in jail

In response to Tuesday’s (30th July) Irish Times article by Fintan O’Toole in which he notes:

A country that can’t protect its citizens from the effects of wrongdoing is not a Republic

Source: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/ten-things-you-can-do-in-ireland-that-almost-certainly-won-t-land-you-in-jail-1.1478549?page=1

Doubtless a political elite that has sapped the moral fibre of our nation and is so divorced from the reality of life under the economic hardship that has befallen so many of our citizens will angrily deny the following:

“Our “Great Little Nation” is increasingly being run in an authoritarian, secretive and anti-democratic style which has nothing to do with the sense of pride and moral virtue that propelled the vision of our founding fathers to build an independent Irish state established on sound democratic principles…

… The reality is what it is.. There are a lot of smart people in this country who feel completely alienated by the Establishment because they dare to think ‘out of the box’.. People like the writer of this Irish Times article. We read, we rant, we argue, and our elite chuckle away. The Establishment has never felt threatened and they don’t feel threatened now. Because the system they have created is so watertight there is little possibility of systemic change to the way our country operates.”

Ireland's political elite

“The stone’s in the midst of all “

‘Easter 1916’, by William Butler Yeats

Exports showcase offers ‘rare’ opportunity for Irish products in growing China market

Niall O’Reilly, who organised the Hangzhou leg of the Irish Exporters’ Association trip to China which we reported on last month, says an offer by Wahaha chief Zong Qinghou to attend the company’s annual internal distributor exhibition marks a “very rare China market opportunity not to be missed”.

China’s richest man, with almost €9 billion in personal assets, Zong is trying to diversify his company, the country’s biggest domestic beverage group, by opening 18 self-run shopping malls, 35 franchising malls and a further 300 franchising stores by the end of 2015.

Wahaha has a nationwide distribution network of about 10,000 distributors, over 100,000 wholesaler and three million sales terminals. It employs more than 60,000 people, has 150 subsidiary companies and 60 manufacturing bases scattered throughout China.

At the meeting with the Irish Exporters Association, Zong, invited Irish producers of milk powder, UHT milk, goat milk powder, tea, fruit drink concentrates, sweets, Irish whiskies and spirits, and, curiously, Irish tweed and knitwear products to attend the Wahaha European Premium Commodities Exhibition in Hangzhou from July 25th to July 28th.

While noting the short time to the exhibition, Zong thought the exhibition would be a great opportunity to showcase Irish products to Wahaha’s key distributors.

Exports showcase offers ‘rare’ opportunity for Irish products in growing China market - Zong Qing Hou Chairman Hangzhou Wahaha and Niall O'Reilly Managing Director Accurate Group China Business Advisers
China’s wealthiest man, Zong Qing Hou Chairman Hangzhou Wahaha – China’s most admired company – welcomes Niall O’Reilly Managing Director Accurate Group China Business Advisers to Wahaha’s HQ in Hangzhou

“This is a man whose primary interest in working with foreign companies is to bring into China products which Chinese companies are poor at making. If he likes a product, his nod is as good as a wink to Wahaha’s distribution network,” said O’Reilly, head of the Accurate Group.

China is set to become Ireland’s fourth largest export market in the next decade, and the retail sector offers huge market potential for Irish foodbeverage and clothing companies. Over 300 million people in China now have disposable income to purchase on non-essential goods that was not possible even back in the 1990s, while Chinese government policies aim to double household incomes by 2020.

Sources / Copyright: Clifford Coonan / Irish Times http://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/exports-showcase-offers-rare-opportunity-in-growing-market-1.1456741

http://www.accuratelimited.com/blog.view.php?id=i84nUxS5ONA=

Niall O’Reilly

Managing Director, Accurate Group – Ireland China Product & Business Development (ExportImport, Partner Due Diligence) Consultancy

Website: http://www.accuratelimited.com

Twitter: @AccurateChina

China Office : Niall O’ReillyAccurate China 1-3 Ying Hui Xing Zhou, Jiang Nan Shui Xiang Lian Sheng Road, Yuhang District, Hangzhou. China 310023| O: +86 571 8709 1253

Ireland Office: Niall O’ReillyAccurate Ireland 93 Upper Georges Street, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland| O: +353-1271-1830

Irish Exporters Association trade mission to ‘paradise’ meets China’s richest man

Irish Times, Asia Briefing, 2nd July, 2013

“And so to the prosperous east of China, to the cities of Suzhou and Hangzhou, where the Irish Exporters Association (IEA) organised a trade mission that included a meeting with mainland China’s richest man: Zong Qinghou.

There is a Chinese proverb: “In heaven there is paradise, on earth Suzhou and Hangzhou.”

As well as being pleasant cities, they are important business locations, and they fit right in with the current thinking on how to exploit the China market best. That involves focusing on second-tier cities that have large populations.

Hangzhou has 9.5 million inhabitants, while Suzhou has 12 million, which is why the IEA’s Asia Trade Forum chose them for its business visit.

“This is all about taking a phased approach to Asia, and getting to know Asia better,” said Hugh Kelly, the chairman of the IEA’s Asia Trade Forum.

“We wanted to get people out here and get them over the hump of making the trip. We wanted to try to get people to experience China and better inform them if it’s the market for them.”

The IEA’s director for China, Niall O’Reilly, is a long-time Hangzhou resident and he orchestrated the coup of arranging a meeting with Mr Zong.

He is estimated to have a personal wealth of 82 billion yuan (€10.23 billion) and is the chairman of the privately held Wahaha group, China’s top homegrown beverage firm, producing bottled water, tea and other drinks, which had pre-tax profits of €1.23 billion last year.

A chain-smoking member of China’s annual parliament, the National People’s Congress, Mr Zong is famously frugal, spending just $20 (€15) a day on himself. He is the third-richest man in Asia and 23rd richest in the world.

His knowledge of Ireland was extremely limited, something the delegates were keen to remedy, but he seemed receptive to the possibilities offered by Ireland – the visit was supposed to be 20 minutes’ long but went on for one and a half hours.

Wahaha has about 60 factories in 29 provinces, and it also makes baby formula and children’s clothes.

The Wahaha group has considerable geographical spread in China and Mr Zong said that he can get a new product into two million shops inside of a week.

“Mr Zong was very interested in what Ireland had to offer,” said Mr Kelly.

Zong Qinghou, Chairman of Hangzhou Wahaha
Zong Qinghou, Chairman of Hangzhou Wahaha

During the visit, Mr Zong invited the IEA to attend a Wahaha event in three weeks’ time, which will be an opportunity to pitch products to the 20 shopping malls owned by Wahaha.

Among the companies taking part on the delegation was Áine Handmade Chocolates. Owner and chocolatier Anne Rudden was impressed by the scale of operations at Wahaha.

“I was here on this trip to see if there were opportunities, so I got more than I thought out of it. Meeting with Mr Zong was the best. And choosing Hangzhou seems to have been a good idea,” said Ms Rudden.

Mr Zong also tried Darling Cocktails’ ready-to-serve cocktail.

Mr Kelly said that while companies were happy to go to the US six times a year, companies found the trip to Asia more daunting and had less of a presence as a result.“Everyone is going home with a great impression. There are a lot of layers here and we’ve achieved more than we expected on this trip. You have to come here to see the scale on which they plan,” said Mr Kelly, the chief executive of Associated Marketing.

Unlike other Government trade missions, the IEA trade delegation had the benefit of not having to meet political obligations.

Mr Kelly said the choice of Hangzhou and Suzhou as the main venues for the trip was part of a plan to match Irish companies with their counterparts in smaller cities.

“Many Irish companies are small and medium-sized companies and are very small in China. If you pair off with someone too big you will fade,” said Mr Kelly.

The delegation also visited the Hangzhou Economic Development Authority and was received by the local government.

Source / Copyright: Clifford Coonan / Irish Times http://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/world/asia-briefing-irish-trade-mission-to-paradise-meets-richest-man-1.1449280 . Accurate Group China Business Blog  http://www.accuratelimited.com/blog.view.php?id=VDJvvLcn5vQ=

Niall O’Reilly

Managing Director, Accurate Group – Ireland China Product & Business Development (ExportImport, Partner Due Diligence) Consultancy

Website: http://www.accuratelimited.com

Twitter: @AccurateChina

China Office : Niall O’ReillyAccurate China 1-3 Ying Hui Xing Zhou, Jiang Nan Shui Xiang Lian Sheng Road, Yu Hang District, Hangzhou. China 310023| O: +86 571 8709 1253

Ireland Office: Niall O’ReillyAccurate Ireland 93 Upper Georges Street, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland| O: +353-1271-1830

Righting a wrong: No evidence that Kennedy-Skipton was a Japanese collaborator during the occupation of Hong Kong

It seems the impact of Derry-born Irishman George Stacey Kennedy-Skipton’s (c 1898-1982) working for the Japanese is exaggerated at best, considering his focus was on agricultural activity aimed at dealing with a rapidly escalating food crisis. Everything written so far points to him being the victim of a grudge on the part of Franklin Gimson (the Colonial Secretary of Hong Kong who was Kennedy-Skipton’s direct report), who had powerful enough friends to besmirch Kennedy-Skipton’s  reputation. Loyalty, or the lack of, regarding Colonial Office servants is the key issue here, not collaboration with the Japanese. Kennedy-Skipton (K-S) was the only Colonial Office cadet to avoid capture and who stayed in Japanese occupied Hong Kong

I would also add that many Irish Free State passport holders (including my uncle) working for the Colonial Office, trading houses, etc, joined the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps (HKVDC) and defending the territory with distinction. Kennedy-Skipton’s neutrality didn’t go down at all well with volunteers who put their life on the line defending Hong Kong, while up on The Peak he was flying the Irish flag declaring his neutrality to the Japanese. As to why he was flying the flag, and who he was protecting in his house was unknown and at the time deemed irrelevant.

A reference in the POW diary written by my uncle “Barney”  John Bernard Patrick Byrne “Diary of War: Private John Bernard Patrick Byrne “Barney” (HKVDC #4732) – Irish Prisoner of the Japanese in Shamshuipo and Sendai (1941-1945)” (Source: https://nialljoreilly.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/niall-and-barney/) throws some light on the depth of feeling suffering POWs would have felt towards K-S and other ‘third nationals’, or neutrals.

Righting a wrong No real evidence that Kennedy-Skipton was a Japanese collaborator during the occupation of Hong Kong - The Blarney stone
The Blarney Stone: According to legend whoever kisses the Blarney Stone is gifted with eloquence and persuasiveness.

In it Barney refers to a trial of French traitors as giving “us Hong Kong men some ideas about a similar purge when we get back there. And we won’t have any shortage of candidate for the rope provided the local loyal Chinese haven’t forestalled us!”

A number of posts in Second World War related Hong Kong groups’ online recount the experiences of families who sheltered in his neutral house. None refer to him informing the Japanese. Far from it, he saved them from the Japanese.

What is curious are the secret files he claim to have discovered which hadn’t been destroyed. There is no evidence he informed the Japanese about the contents of these file. In fact, he went to extraordinary efforts to inform the British Government of their existence.

However, the receipt by the British government of the message relating such information would have been preceded by the Franklin Gimson / British Army Aid Group (BAAG) grapevine noting that one of their own had gone over to the Japs, and was therefore branded a collaborator…. which was pretty much the same label everyone who claimed neutrality and worked for the Japanese occupation government was tarnished with.

In conclusion, in my there is no evidence that K-S was a collaborator in any shape or form. He just chose to declare his Irish neutrality, at a time when he was working for the colonial government and most of the Irish, and his fellow colonial cadets living in Hong Kong were fighting for Hong Kong and subsequently imprisoned. As such he was effectively disowned.

I recall a conversation I had in the late 1990s with an eminent Hong Kong LEGCO legislator on the very sensitive subject of collaborators. Naturally given the depth of rage, anyone, irrespective of race and background, who had by hook or by crook avoided the hardship of the Japanese occupation, profited from the turmoil, or who had recently returned to Hong Kong from Macau to be part of and benefit from the Post War reconstruction effort would have been branded a traitor. In order to maintain law and order, and perhaps keep the degree of treachery under wraps, the colonial government would have taken a conscious decision to classify the wartime records of many collaborators.

And while mentioning by hook or by crook there is a question mark regarding whether or not Kennedy-Skipton actually carried an Irish Free State passport which would have been the basis for his Irish neutrality. He may not have held an Irish Free State passport.  At the time of the Irish Free State people living and born in the six counties of Northern Ireland, of which Derry was part, would not have Irish Citizenship. Probably he just exploited an opportunity to outfox the Japanese.

To the Japanese it didn’t matter if the Irish were from north or south Ireland, they still treated them as neutrals.  Kennedy-Skipton (K-S) January 1943 escape to China may well have coincided with the Japanese finally grasping the intricacies Ireland’s political boundaries.

Additional reading: http://gwulo.com/node/12900?page=1

Irish Exporters Association / Asia Trade Forum Flagship Business Visit to China (Suzhou / Hangzhou Shanghai) June 23rd to June 28th

Irish Exporters Flagship Business Visit to Suzhou and Hangzhou, China, June 23rd to June 28th

Overview

The Asia Trade Forum, an initiative of the Irish Exporters Association established to increase two-way trade with Asia, is delighted to announce a Business Visit in June 2013 to two of China’s most fabled and leading business cities, Suzhou and Hangzhou.

The visit will encompass the two cities of Suzhou and Hangzhou, both on the Yangtze River Delta and 30 minutes from Shanghai. Typically, Business Visits tend to focus on Tier 1 cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. Both Suzhou and Hangzhou are highly competitive cities, with rapid economic development. In addition, they both offer a consumer market with above average disposable incomes. They are ideal gateways to China for your business.

The visit will take place from 23rd to 29th June in partnership Grant Thornton, William Fry, RBS/Ulster Bank, Enterprise Ireland, Euler Hermes, FcM Travel, and Etihad Airways.

The purpose of the Business Visit is to:

  1. Showcase exporting or partnering opportunities in Yangtze River Delta economic region.
  2. Showcase Chinese companies who wish to trade with Ireland.
  3. Highlight the growing indigenous Irish companies operating in China.
  4. Provide a platform for Irish and Chinese businesses to exchange trading opportunities.
  5. The event will include seminars, roundtable workshops, and 1:1 meetings with perspective customers and partners.

Dates / Schedule:

Sunday 23rd June

A.M.:  – Depart Ireland Etihad Airways

Monday 24th June

A.M.: – Arrive in Shanghai Pudong International Airport / transfer to City of Suzhou by road
P.M.: – Arrive City of Suzhou

[Distance from Shanghai Pudong International Airport to Suzhou is about 120km (similar to driving from Dublin to Enniscorthy)

Tuesday 25th June

All-Day: – Gain real hands-on experience of the Suzhou / China business environment; find out what opportunities are on offer:

Match-making with potential buyers, suppliers, and partners

Wednesday 26th June

A.M. –Gain real hands-on experience of the Suzhou / China business environment, find out what opportunities are on offer:

Match-making with potential buyers, suppliers, partners

P.M. Depart City of Suzhou / Transfer overland to City of Hangzhou

[Distance from Suzhou to Hangzhou is about 166km (similar to driving from Dublin to Belfast)]

Thursday 27th June

All-Day:- Gain real hands-on experience of the Hangzhou / China business environment; find out what opportunities are on offer: Match-making with potential buyers, suppliers, and partners

Friday 28th June

A.M. – Gain real hands-on experience of the Hangzhou / China business environment, find out what opportunities are on offer: Match-making with potential buyers, suppliers, partners

P.M. – Wrap up / Tour of West Lake

Evening – Head to Shanghai Pudong International Airport / Return to Ireland
[Distance from Hangzhou to Shanghai Pudong International Airport is about 200km (similar to driving from Dublin to Tipperary)]

Accurate China Insight - Irish Exporters Association - Asia Trade Forum Flagship Business Visit to Suzhou Hangzhou and Shanghai China June 2013

Business Visit Participation Fees and Details

The participation fee to take part on the mission is €500 plus 21.5% VAT per company.  The following will be included as part of the participation fee:

  • Seminars, business networking events and quality 1:1 match-making meetings (utilising the combined resources of local government and on the ground Irish Exporters Association expertise).
  • Group lunches and evening receptions in both cities.
  • Company profile and business visit brochure.
  • Organisational and logistical support including transfers and transport in China.
  • Negotiated group rates in hotels.

Travel Agency Support

Registration for the business visit opens on Tuesday 14th May, please visit http://www.asiatradeforum.org to register.

Final deadline for registration is Friday 7th June.

Travel Information & Visa

Information on travelling in China and vaccine requirements in available from the Department of Foreign Affairs on http://www.dfa.ie/home/index.aspx?id=402

business visa must be obtained through the Chinese Embassy visa service.

You will be required to include the following:

  • Passport valid for at least 6 months with 2 blank pages facing each other
  • 1 passport photo
  • Company Letter- stating 12 mth multiple visa
  • Invitation letter (to be arranged by ATF)
  • Application form and additional business form (attached).

Processing time is 10 working days. There is a same day service available for Irish passport holders for an additional €125. The IEA Consular Service can assist with visa applications.

What makes the Asia Trade Forum Business Visit to China Different?

  • Irish Exporters Association / Asia Trade Forum, having hosted many high-level delegations from these two cities over the years, have excellent relationships with local governments in Suzhou and Hangzhou
  • China isn’t a single market: 5 megacities with populations of over 10,000,000; 14 cities with populations of over 5,000,000 (including Suzhou and Hangzhou), and 41 cities with populations of over 2,000,000. The Yangtze River Delta economic powerhouse is a market place of 88,000,000 people
  •  The Irish Exporters Association / Asia Trade Forum is in a unique position to work with practical and enthusiastic local governments, Irish business associations and Irish businessmen and businesswomen working on the ground in China to deliver a constructive Business Visit focused on quality match-making and business lead generation
  • The Irish Exporters Association / Asia Trade Forum are very conscious of the cost constraints holding many Irish companies back from engaging with China. This will be a very focused Business Visit aimed primarily at developing inroads into China’s Tier 2 city markets where strong local government relationships are critical.

Introducing Suzhou and Hangzhou

Chinese Proverb:

“In heaven there is paradise, on earth Suzhou and Hangzhou”

About Suzhou

A city built in 514 B.C.; Suzhou has long been one of China’s richest cities. Immediately west of Shanghai is strategically situated in the Yangtze River Delta region, China’s economic epicentre. Suzhou is also located in Jiangsu Province, which has the highest GDP per capita of all Chinese provinces, and the second highest GDP.

Suzhou Development

Municipality population:   10,500,000

Urban population:   4,074,000

Average temperature in June:    23 degrees

Average annual income:    Approx €13,000

According to Forbes ™ China, in 2011 Suzhou was China’s “best business city”, while in 2012 Suzhou was the “most innovative city” in China. Suzhou is also the 2nd largest manufacturing industry base in China, producing, for example, 40% PC sets, 65% mouses, 30% micro-cameras, 10% PC boards of world supply

Suzhou’s ranking among major cities of China 2011 / 2012:

– Patent Applications     NO.1

– Government Service     NO.1

– Patents Grant     NO.2 (2011)

 Best Business Environment     NO.3

– Overall Competitiveness     NO.5 (2012)

– G.D.P     NO.5 (2012)

–  Total Exports     NO.3

–  Total Imports and Exports     NO.4

Irish companies including GlanbiaPM GroupEPS ElectronicsElement Six, etc, have already either invested in Suzhou operations, partnered with Suzhou-based companies, or sold products and services to companies based in Suzhou.

About Hangzhou

Legend has it that Marco Polo called the former imperial capital of China, Hangzhou: “without doubt the finest and most splendid city the world“.

Hangzhou is known for its high level of education, advanced technology industries, considerable wealth and the fabled West Lake scenic area. Four of China’s best known brands were born, and are headquartered in Hangzhou Alibaba and Taobao (which is why Hangzhou is referred to as China’s e-commerce capital), Wahaha (mineral water), and Geely (owner of Volvo electric car research).

Hangzhou

Municipality population:     8,700,000

Urban population:     6,242,000 (10th largest in China)

Average temperature in June:     23 degrees

Average annual income:     Approx €10,000

Ranked by Forbes™ in December 2012, as the second “best city for business” in China, after Shanghai, Hangzhou has benefited almost disproportionately from the spread of wealth, development, and investment from Shanghai, which is 2 hours north. For example, Hangzhou already has 108.5 millionaires per 100,000 residents, China’s highest concentration of wealth.

The provincial capital of central Zhejiang Province, which is considered China’s technological and entrepreneurial heartland, Hangzhou is also situated on the southern wing of the Yangtze River Delta region, where it ranks 2nd in terms of economic prosperity.

Hangzhou’s ranking among major cities of China 2011 / 2012:

  • Patent Applications     NO. 1 (of Provincial Capitals 2011)
  • Government Service     NO.2
  • Patents Grant     NO.2 (2012)
  • Best Business Environment     NO.2
  • Overall Competitiveness     NO.8 (2012)

Kerry Group is one of a number of Irish companies who have already either invested in Hangzhou operations, partnered with Hangzhou-based companies, or sold products and services to companies based in Hangzhou

Sector-related Market Opportunities for Irish companies in Suzhou and Hangzhou

  • Software, e-commerce, animation, gaming design and testing
  • Precision machinery manufacturing
  • ICT
  • Services industry
  • Cleantech / Environment protection
  • Automobiles
  • Bio-pharmaceutical / medical
  • Retail
  • Government
  • Horticulture
  • Chemicals
  • Food, etc…

Note: Do not be put off if your business sector does not appear in the list above, as it is the intention of Irish Exporters Association / Asia Trade Forum to try to assist every company interested in tapping the China market to find potential partners / clients.

Estimated Travel Costs

Once the registration fee has been received and the registration form completed, FcM travel will offer a negotiated package to delegates.  However costs may vary according to individual itineraries and exchange rate.  The costs are based on the first 20 places on the visit.

The FcM travel cost will be approx. €1800 to include:

  • Etihad Flight    (Departure from Dublin:  Sunday 23rd. Arrive in Dublin Saturday 29th)
  • Transfers and internal transport
  • Lunch and evening receptions (2 in each city)
  • 4* Hotel Accommodation

For further information contact:

Ashley Beston, Asia Trade Forum Manager,

Irish Exporters Association ashleybeston@irishexporters.ie  or 01- 642 4170

Niall O’Reilly, Director for China, Irish Exporters Association,

niall@accuratelimited.com

Niall O’Reilly

Managing Director, Accurate Group – Ireland China Product & Business Development (ExportImport, Partner Due Diligence) Consultancy

Website: http://www.accuratelimited.com

Twitter: @AccurateChina

Accurate Group China Office : 1-3 Ying Hui Xing Zhou, Jiang Nan Shui Xiang Lian Sheng Road, Yu Hang District, Hangzhou. China 310023| O: +86 571 8709 1253

Accurate Group Ireland Office: 93 Upper Georges Street, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland| O: +353-1271-1830