IDA Ireland talks up Asia as 2018 half-year results show more growth

12 Jun 2018

Hong Kong skyline at night. Image: Iakov Kalinin/Shutterstock

IDA Ireland has posted its half-year results for 2018 and, notably, it has cited Asia as the driving force behind its growth on the same time last year.

In the wake of Brexit, Ireland is having to look elsewhere for new trading partners, none larger or more lucrative than the Asian market, as has been shown by IDA Ireland’s half-year report for 2018.

Published today (12 June), the Irish Government body reported a strong return so far this year with more than 40 Brexit-related investments won since the UK referendum in 2016, driven by the Asia Pacific region creating a strong pipeline for the years ahead.

The numbers

Speaking of Asia’s role, IDA CEO Martin Shanahan said: “I am particularly encouraged by our progress in China, South Korea and India in recent months, with investments from companies like WuXi (China), SK Biotek (South Korea) and Leetha (India).

“IDA Ireland has invested in Asia over several years now and I’m glad to see that investment paying dividends. As a small open economy, Ireland is heavily exposed to external geopolitical developments. The only way we can guard against this rapid change is by making sure our economy remains competitive.”

Meanwhile, the IDA expects 11,300 jobs to be created by investments so far this year, to be rolled out over the coming months and years, improving upon the figure of 11,000 predicted in the same period last year.

Over the course of the six months, Ireland won 139 projects – including 51 regional investments – compared with 114 in the first half of 2017.

Technology, financial services and pharmaceuticals performed particularly strongly in the first half of the year, the agency added.

No room for complacency

Speaking again about regional investments, the IDA said it will finish its current programme of regional property investment with new advanced buildings in Limerick, Dundalk and Waterford following major announcements, including the 600 jobs created in the mid-west for Edwards Life Sciences revealed in March.

“IDA is making steady progress on regional investments,” Shanahan said.

“There have been 344 investments approved for the regions in the three-and-a-half of the IDA’s current five-year winning strategy. This compares with 346 over the full five years of IDA’s previous strategy.”

But the CEO stressed that Ireland needs to be wary of complacency in the years ahead.

“The last three years have seen record job creation numbers within the IDA Ireland client portfolio – there are over 210,000 directly employed in FDI companies in 2018,” he said.

“We cannot take this investment for granted and companies will go elsewhere unless we maintain an environment that is conducive to doing business.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic