New frontiers Asia: Enterprise Ireland’s top ten tips for exporting to Asia
Sunday Business Post: Enterprise Ireland clients recorded €1.6 billion in exports to Asia last year with growth in the areas of fintech, ICT and aerospace.

Home to a population of 4.4 billion, Asia is one of Ireland's fastest growing markets.

Asia is one of the fastest growing markets for Enterprise Ireland clients who recorded €1.6bn in exports there last year. Clients such as Corvil, Fexco, Cubic Telecom, Dublin Aerospace and Arralis are succeeding in areas such as fintech, ICT and Aerospace.


It may be the biggest and most populous continent in the world, with the strongest emerging markets, but its scale can be addressed by choosing the right base to diversify into other markets.

1. Preparation: Possibly the most important tip before entering Asian markets. Being well informed on the different rules and policies of the investment destination is vital. For example, doing business in mainland China can sometimes be complicated and bureaucratic, with vaguely written regulations interpreted differently by different bureaus. Exporters should be aware that setting up a company takes several months and requires a 12-month office lease to be secured at the initial stages. Companies should prepare for the cost involved.

Singapore and Hong Kong are comparatively easier. A company can be set up within a few days or weeks. However, these regions have their own obstacles so research and seeking local advice is recommended.

2. Local Practices: Business practices in Asia are vastly different from Ireland. In most regions, especially China and India, relationships are key. Deals with locals are usually determined by how well you know the counterparty. Many smaller local businesses (eg suppliers) might be uncomfortable dealing with a foreign business and change their prices accordingly.  

Knowledge of local languages and practices is key. Having trusted local employees certainly smoothes things over when dealing with suppliers and clients.

3. Recruitment and Labour Law: Recruitment of local staff requires care. Online platforms and agencies can help but always check the background of candidates. Be aware that labour law in China is biased towards the worker so ensure an employment contract in Chinese is signed by all staff, with strict internal rules backed up by a staff handbook. Also, ensure Income Tax and Social Insurance are withheld and paid by all employees.

4. Don’t assume operating to be easy: This is especially true for China, India and Vietnam, with the latter two becoming increasingly popular. Despite the high level of risk that has always been perceived by foreign investors in India, recent polices aimed at improving ease of doing business could represent an attractive change. The recently liberalised FDI caps, the presence of a skilled and low-cost labour force and high English literacy in the country are advantages for foreign investors.

Nevertheless, particular attention must still be paid to the Indian environment: opening companies in the country can be lengthy and complicated and assistance could be needed. The choice of the location is fundamental due to the numerous regional differences in terms of business licences, overhead costs and consumer behaviours. 


Vietnam represents an attractive business environment for foreign investors when compared to other Asian countries. They have a relatively stable government; increasing consumer confidence and domestic consumption; extremely cheap labour force and facilities; and abundant natural resources. However, Vietnam often ranks low in ease of doing business. The complexity of legal processes and the presence of several state-owned enterprises should alert investors to look for professional assistance whenever entering the market.


The country is becoming one of the biggest manufacturing hubs in the world and many investors are still unaware of the great potential of the local consumer market, with one of the fastest growing middle classes in South East Asia.

5. Corporate responsibility: When doing business in China, make sure you choose a reliable and trustworthy legal representative. They will have full access to the company, cash and capital; and can enter into contracts on behalf of the company.  

6. Banking:
Ensure the chosen bank has experience dealing with foreign companies and handles matters such as currency exchange and profit remittance regularly. In Hong Kong, many banks have implemented a ‘know-your-client’ scheme in which it is no longer possible to set up a corporate account remotely or with a proxy. Therefore all directors/shareholders must be present in the bank at time of opening an account.

7. Address/Capital/Scope/Name: The four core pieces of registered information for a Chinese company are business name, address, scope and registered capital. Each should be thought out thoroughly prior to investment as changes are time-consuming, costly and would almost certainly interrupt business operations.  

8. Offshore status: Apply for Offshore Status, if applicable. A company in Hong Kong can be established without substance, ie with no office or staff and can be operated remotely. Currently, if all the income is sourced from abroad then a Hong Kong company may not liable for local tax.

9. Taxes: Be aware of taxes due. Despite recent reforms, China’s tax system is very convoluted and rates are quite high. Corporate Tax is 25 percent and VAT rates vary. Hong Kong’s Corporate Tax rate 16.5 percent and Singapore’s are 8.5 percent and 17 percent.

10.  Due Diligence: No matter what part of the region you are investing in, if a major deal is being made with a local company, or equity is being purchased for a merger, always perform a full corporate health check and due diligence to ensure no liabilities are assumed. Hiring a professional consultant is crucial and can help avoid bad debt or tax liabilities being unknowingly transferred. Any company that refuses an investigation should not be dealt with.


Tom Cusack is Enterprise Ireland Director of Asia based in Shanghai. Produced with thanks to Dezan Shira & Associates (www.dezshira.com). Further information is available from www.enterprise-ireland.com

Enterprise Ireland Export Advice column: Australian dream up for grabs
Sunday Independent: With its close ties to the fast-growing markets of Asia and high rating in ease of doing business, Australia continues to be a dynamic and dependable market for Ireland. 

The country is on the verge of becoming the fintech centre for Asia, construction and engineering activities have increased, and IT opportunities lie in the building of a national e-health platform.

€6.6 million Horizon 2020 funding win for Enterprise Ireland Start-Ups
Artomatix and SiriusXT are among the High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) Acclerate companies which have secured millions in EU funding for innovation projects.

Young Irish companies continue to compete successfully in the EU Horizon 2020 programme with further wins amounting to €6.6 million for Enterprise Ireland companies for innovation projects. The companies are part of the High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) Accelerate programme.


Artomatix secured €1.47 million for new digital art technology which allows the movie and video game industries produce content at a faster pace and lower cost. The company first won a “Roots in Research” Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneurship Award in 2014.


Neal O’Gorman, CEO/Co-founder of Artomatix, commented: "We're absolutely delighted. The company and team have grown a lot in the last two years and these funds are going to allow us to continue to expand, execute on our roadmap and focus on customers. I would like to thank our team for the endless hours of dedication they have put into Artomatix to date and for the EU in recognising the significant disruption that we're bringing to the creative industries through the application of artificial intelligence (AI) to art creation". 


Disease research will benefit from an innovative laboratory microscope created by SiriusXT, which won just over €3 million in Horizon 2020 funding. The soft x-ray microscope developed by the company allows the internal structure of whole biological cells to be imaged in three dimensions.


Tony McEnroe, Managing Director at SiriusXT said: "The SME Instrument project is fully aligned with SiriusXT's plan to bring a 3D whole-cell imaging microscope to the disease research and drug discovery markets. For a startup company, just six months in existence, this win not only funds a significant part of our product development costs but it also validates the quality of the company's business plan".


The national support structure for Horizon 2020 is led by Enterprise Ireland and provides hands-on assistance to Ireland’s companies and researchers in identifying opportunities and applying for funding.


Dr Imelda Lambkin, National Director, Horizon 2020, Enterprise Ireland added: “We are delighted to see the latest in a series of successes by innovative Irish SMEs participating in the Horizon 2020 programme. This brings Ireland’s wins under this programme to over €30M to date. We would strongly encourage other SMEs to consider this opportunity too.”


For more information on Horizon 2020, go to www.horizon2020.ie

Brazilian economy could harness success of Rio Olympics yet
Irish Examiner
It's the fifth largest country in the world, by landmass and population, with a burgeoning technology market. Despite its recent upheavals, Brazil remains one of Ireland's most important trading partners in South America.
40 jobs announced at Irish fintech start-up Touchtech
Silicon Republic
High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) Touchtech plans to hire 40 staff in technical and marketing positions at its Dublin office over the next three years.
Tech start-ups not the sole domain of the young
Sunday Business Post
The average age of a first-time entrepreneur is 39, but teen tycoons appear to get all the attention.
EntAnon to give start-ups extra €5k if they get CSF funding grant
Silicon Republic

Entrepreneurs Anonymous has offered to support companies who succesfully apply for Enterprise Ireland's Competitive Start Fund with an extra €5k.

Entrepreneurial women set to take to the stage
Irish Independent
The Changing Face of Success is the theme of the Enterprise Ireland International Business Women's Conference taking place on August 22nd in conjuction with the Rose of Tralee International Festival.
Pulsate to create up to 40 jobs as it expands in Ireland and US
Irish Times
The mobile marketing software company currently employs 20 people split between its engineering base in Dublin and San Francisco sales office.
Limerick tech firm secures $6m funding from investors
Irish Times
Lifesciences technology company Teckro will use the funds raised from a number of investors for development and expansion.
Enterprise Ireland €200k feasibility fund to support next generation of agri-business in Ireland
Competitive Feasibility Fund opens for applications from entrepreneurs and early stage start-up companies on Tuesday 23 August and will close on Tuesday 6 September 2016.
Breakfast Briefing on Markets Update & Supports available for Overseas Trade

August 16th: Register for this breakfast briefing to receive key information for companies trading overseas.

Gareth MacHale, Interest Rate and FX Trading at Bank of Ireland, Global Markets, will discuss market movements, currency analysis and interest rate fluctuations.

Deirdre McPartlin, Senior Development Advisor at Enterprise Ireland
, will outline the questions companies need to ask when trading overseas and the various supports available to them.

Markets Update & Supports available for overseas trade
International Business Women's Conference
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