THE KILKENNY local authorities today became the first in Ireland to launch a micro site in Chinese as part of a bid to attract investment from the Far East.
Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr Phil Hogan, TD, officially launched the website for the Invest Kilkenny initiative (www.investkilkeny.ie) at a seminar attended by the Chinese Embassy Commercial Counsellor, Mrs Shufeng Zhang, Kilkenny City and County Manager, Mr Joe Crockett and business leaders from the area.
Invest Kilkenny is a new marketing campaign recently launched by the local authorities to promote the city and county for its ease of access, high calibre workforce, and great quality of life with a city steeped in a rich culture and heritage.
While Kilkenny is already renowned as a cosmopolitan, cultural, and creative hub, the campaign is stressing that the region is also perfectly placed to attract business given its exceptional global connectivity.
The opening of the new M9 motorway means Kilkenny is only 70 minutes from Dublin Airport, and 30 minutes from Waterford with its regional airport and the Belview development zone, including Belview Port.
A Business Support Unit has been established to support the initiative and a website www.investkilkenny.ie launched which includes a property finder and details of local business success stories. Global businesses headquartered in Kilkenny include Glanbia, Taxback.com and Statestreet.
Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr Phil Hogan TD, welcomed the move saying it is important that the message goes out around the world that Ireland, and Kilkenny, is very much open for business.
“Despite the recent economic troubles Ireland and Kilkenny are very attractive options for foreign investors and launching this website in Chinese will assist greatly in promoting the area,”said the Minister. “Relations with China and Ireland are growing all the time and the investment potential is huge.”
The Minister said Kilkenny is already home to an impressive mix of international and indigenous businesses spread across a variety of sectors, including financial and internationally-traded services, agriculture, food, ICT, digital media, arts, craft, retail and design.
Key employers include one of the world’s largest cheese and nutritional ingredients companies, Glanbia PLC, with a €2 billion a year turnover, Taxback.com, brewers Diageo PLC and nationally-renowned firms such as Vhi and State Street.
“As is evidenced from business activity in both indigenous and the overseas sectors, Kilkenny has developed a high profile as a national and international services centre. In addition, Kilkenny currently acts as an administration centre for a number of state and semi-state agencies including the regional HQ of the Health & Safety Authority (HSA) and the Health Services Executive (HSE), the national HQ of the Patents Office, the Crafts Council of Ireland and The Heritage Council.”
“Key sectors of focus for the medium term are international services and financial services. The development of the 20 hectare IDA Kilkenny Business and Technology Park is an asset which will assist greatly in the attraction of new investment.”
The Minister said the development of the IDA Belview lands (55 hectares) in South Kilkenny for large-scale utility intensive industry will ultimately benefit Co. Kilkenny as well as neighbouring Waterford City and the wider region. In addition, there are a number of brownfield sites available for promotion in the centre of Kilkenny City.
Kilkenny City and County Manager, Joe Crockett, said at the launch of the Chinese micro site that businesses locating in Kilkenny benefit can benefit from excellent connectivity by road, rail, air and sea and dynamic, pro-business local supports that really achieve results.
“Kilkenny is an inspirational place, ideal for headquarters and back office development with specific advantages for IT and Financial Services companies.”
He said Kilkenny is a cost-competitive location which has average business overheads of at least 15 per cent less than Dublin. He pointed specifically to the significant supplies of water now available for industry in South Kilkenny with water shortage emerging as a world wide issue.
As part of the Invest Kilkenny campaign the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) is to open an Information Communication Technology (ICT) Research and Innovation Centre on the National University of Ireland Maynooth (NUIM) Kilkenny Campus at St. Kierans College in September.
The new research centre will mark the continued growth of WIT’s highly successful Telecommunication Software and Systems Group (TSSG), an internationally recognised centre of excellence for ICT research and innovation, employing 140 research staff and students.
The TSSG is at the forefront of defining next generation Internet networks and services and has global research and industry partnerships in Asia, Europe and America.
In attendance at the website launch today were a team from the official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, who are reporting over the next two days for its news website and TV news channel, CBC, on the merits of the city and county as a place to do business.