Tuesday, March 19 08:14:27
With Chinese consumers checking the origin of the food ever more carefully, the market offers an opportunity for some of the foods that Ireland does best, such as seafood. Irish seafood companies have focused on markets such as Germany and France, but for those prepared to look a bit further afield, there are opportunities. China 's booming middle class is keen on Irish seafood and exports here rose 80 per cent last year.
Four Irish seafood companies - McBride Fishing, Carr Shellfish, Shellfish De La Mer and Sofrimar - have banded together to form a joint venture called Jade Ireland Seafood, with an office in Shanghai. Under the Ocean Jade brand, they sell a range of live and processed seafood, including crab, lobster, mussels, prawns, scallops and white fish. Ocean Jade seafood is available at upmarket retail outlets around Shanghai and over St Patrick's weekend, Bord Bia and the retailer CityShop in the Shanghai Centre organised the first Irish Food Festival, with Ocean Jade in pride of place.
"The Irish seafood sector is small in comparison to our competitors and we quickly realised that in order to compete effectively and to supply such a large market in China, we would need to use our collective resources," said Hugh McBride, director of Jade Ireland. The Irish Times
Convenience brand Mace is to boost its presence with plans to open 100 new stores by 2016, creating an estimated 1,200 jobs. The retailer said the expansion would see turnover at the group increase by a fifth.
The company last year opened 28 new stores countrywide, bringing its total network to 240 shops. Turnover by 2016 under the plan is expected to rise to E420m.
Willie O'Byrne, managing director of BWG, operator of the Mace brand along with the Maxol Group, said the company was outperforming the market and was the fastest-growing brand in Irish retailing.
He said the company was confident that it could meet the 100 new-store target and get enough independent retailers to link to the Mace brand. The Irish Independent
Construction of new houses jumped more than a half in January compared with the same month last year. The figures give a boost to a sector that has suffered a fall in residential production by at least one-fifth every year since 2007.
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, Fingal, Galway county, Carlow, Meath and Wicklow had the most housing starts.
Despite the increase, the number of houses that were actually completed continued to decline in January. Nearly one-fifth fewer houses were finished in the month compared with January 2012, according to the Construction Industry Federation (CIF).
The CIF says activity is picking up in urban areas but rural areas are suffering from an "overhang" from too many houses still on the market. The Irish Independent
Chinese parents prize education probably above all other gifts they can hand on to their children, and are keen for their kids to study abroad at the best universities. Australia and the US have been wooing Chinese students, with strong degrees of national identity helping sell the product. Ireland has a way to go. Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn was in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai last week with an Enterprise Ireland trade delegation of more than 15 educational institutions, including University College Cork,
There are some 5,000 Chinese studying in Ireland of which 300 are pursuing PhDs, and they fluctuate between being the largest and the second largest nationality grouping, but the aim is to expand this number. "I see China as a 10 or 15-year strategy," said the Minister. "There are structural things that have to be done in the garden, and there is regular maintenance and seasons within that period. The Irish Times