Two medtech start-ups among Irish-Chinese trade deals worth €50m in major expo

6 Nov 2018

Image: © lianxun zhang /

A number of Irish start-ups have secured lucrative deals in China worth a total of €50m, including two rising medtech firms.

Irish start-ups and established companies appear to have caught the eye of Chinese investors at the inaugural China International Import Exhibition (CIIE), already one of the largest trade exhibitions in the world.

Enterprise Ireland had led a delegation to CIIE as part of a six-day trade mission, and now it has announced that a number of Irish firms who also made the journey have secured more than €50m in deals with their new Chinese partners.

Notably, two medtech start-ups were among those to secure funding, including Cork-based Solvotrin Therapeutics, which completed an exclusive distribution agreement with Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical for more than €15m per year over three years.

Founded in 2010, Solvotrin Therapeutics is a manufacturer of a number of healthcare and medicinal products, with this deal seeing its iron supplements sold through Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical, one of China’s leading pharmaceutical and medicinal products producers.

Meanwhile, Novaerus, a DCU Alpha spin-out, secured a three-year distribution agreement with Hangzhou Door Import and Export worth €760,000 in product purchasing. The air disinfection specialist uses plasma technology in its units to eradicate all airborne viruses, bacteria, moulds and odours in an area.

Catching an Irish Breeze

A number of other long-established companies also secured major deals, with the biggest Irish success being skincare wipes provider Irish Breeze signing a deal with With sales through the e-commerce giant, Irish Breeze aims to achieve sales of €25m within five years for its WaterWipes product.

Meanwhile, chemical and physical standards producer Reagecon Diagnostics announced a a distribution agreement with Beijing Thorigin over a five-year period, worth a total value of €10m. The deal with Beijing Thorigin expands the reach of Reagecon in the Asia Pacific market, with existing distribution agreements in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan and South Korea.

Other Irish-based companies showcased at the trade show included Hostelworld, Glen Dimplex, Emerald Green Baby, Cartoon Saloon, PM Group, Orbis and PPI.

Speaking of China’s importance to the Irish economy, Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon said: “Greater China is currently the fourth-largest export market for Enterprise Ireland clients, who achieved exports of €1.03bn in 2017. Reflecting the market potential, we have our sights set on increasing this by 40pc to €1.44bn in exports by 2020.”

She continued: “The CIIE event has been instrumental in promoting the strengths of Irish exporters to the Chinese market, and today’s significant announcements reflect the scale of the opportunity for Irish exporters in China.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic