The digital business week

27 Feb 2012

A digest of the top business and technology news stories from the past week.

Irishman to spearhead Twitter’s global advertising drive

Twitter’s global advertising expansion will be driven by a former Google executive named Stephen McIntyre, it has emerged. McIntyre will direct the global ads expansion from Twitter’s new international HQ in Dublin.

It emerged recently that Twitter has headhunted two high-profile Google executives. According to All Things Digital, the microblogging site has hired McIntyre as director of online sales and operations and Shailesh Rao as VP of international revenue.

Until recently, McIntyre headed Google’s international self-serve ads team in Ireland.

Twitter is expected to debut a self-serve product for businesses in March.

Bord Gáis Energy issues statement on its sale

Bord Gáis Energy, which employs around 485 people, says it will now engage with the relevant Irish Government departments and other stakeholders to ensure that, when it goes to market, the retail division of Bord Gáis will generate the maximum values for the State.

Last week, the Government announced it would be selling Bord Gáis Energy, Bord Gáis’ retail, trading and assets division, as part of its plan to sell up to €3bn in State assets to meet the country’s international bailout. About a third of the sale of the State assets will be injected into job creation, the Government has confirmed.

The sale of Bord Gáis Energy will comprise the main element of the Government’s planned €3bn disposal of State assets and companies. Its sale will not include the two gas interconnectors or its gas transmission or distribution systems.

The Government is also planning to sell of some “non-strategic” power-generation capacity of the ESB, while it is also considering selling Coillte assets, but not any of its lands. The Government is also selling its 25pc stake in Aer Lingus.

It has taken a U-turn on its previous plan to sell a substantial part of ESB.

As for the sale of Bord Gáis Energy, Bord Gáis said it would have “no impact” on its customers

Shanghai court rejects injunction against iPad

A court in Shanghai rejected Chinese firm Proview Technology’s request to get a preliminary injunction against the sale of the iPad in the company’s continuing trademark dispute with Apple.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Shanghai court said it has postponed hearings awaiting the results of a separate case in the Guangdong provincial high court.

Proview Technology requested the injunction in its ongoing trademark dispute with Apple over the iPad name in China, claiming it owns the trademark to the name.

Trade forum highlights opportunities for Ireland and China

More than 350 representatives from Irish and Chinese firms attended last week’s China Trade and Investment Forum in Dublin as part of China’s vice-president Xi Jinping’s visit to Ireland.

Mr Xi is set to become president of China when the current president Hu Jintao’s second term ends in October.

Enterprise Ireland, IDA, Bord Bia and Science Foundation Ireland organised the forum.

Indigenous Irish exports to China grew by 10pc in 2011, for the second year in a row, said Enterprise Ireland. The agency is now aiming for a further 15pc growth in 2012.

It said that that client exports to China grew by 10pc in 2010 to €251m and initial estimates show that 2011 delivered a further 10pc.

More than 200 Irish companies export to China, with 140 of them now having offices in China.

“The visit to Ireland by Vice President Xi is hugely significant in terms of Ireland’s export-led recovery.  China is a priority market for Enterprise Ireland and we’re working intensively with Irish companies to help them access growth opportunities in China,” said Enterprise Ireland CEO Frank Ryan.

He said that because Enterprise Ireland client companies had grown Irish exports to China by 10pc year-on-year, this makes China the No 1 destination for indigenous Irish exports in the Asia region.

The China Ireland Trade Forum involved several presentations to highlight Ireland’s strengths to the Chinese delegation such as high-end technologies from Ireland. It also looked at Ireland as a location for third-level education for Chinese students.

Irish businessman Shane O’Neill dies

Dublin native Shane O’Neill, the former head of Liberty Global’s content division Chellomedia, died in a London hospital on 18 February after a 15-month battle with the degenerative brain disease Creutzfeldt-Jakob. He was 50.

O’Neill, who was based in London, stepped down from his roles as SVP and chief strategy officer, Liberty Global, and president of subsidiary Chellomedia Services Limited in December.

O’Neill is survived by his wife, his parents, his three children and three siblings.

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