Liam Casey named Ireland’s international start-up ambassador to China

28 Mar 2012

In China today were Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD; PCH International CEO Liam Casey; and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton, TD

Entrepreneur Liam Casey, CEO of PCH International and known in industry circles as ‘Mr China’, has been named by Enterprise Ireland as ‘International Start-up Ambassador’ in China.

Casey occupies similar roles as entrepreneur Dylan Collins occupies in the UK market and entrepreneur Paul Kenny in the Middle East.

Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton, on appointing Casey to the role, said the aim is to encourage Chinese entrepreneurs to choose Ireland as the location for their next hi-tech start-up business.

“A key part of the Government’s plan for jobs and growth is to create a genuine indigenous engine of growth. As I have said before, our ambition must not only be to attract the next Google or Microsoft to Ireland, but we must also seek to grow the next Google or Microsoft in Ireland. Indigenous companies provide proportionally more than three times more benefit to the Irish economy than multinational companies,” Bruton said.

“The Action Plan for Jobs contains a series of measures aimed at making Ireland a centre for international start-ups, and today’s announcement that Liam Casey, an Irish entrepreneur with immense experience in China, is being appointed as Ireland’s start-up ambassador here, is great news and represents further moves towards delivery of a key Action Plan for Jobs commitment,” Bruton added.

“I am determined to continue implementing our plan to ensure that we can make Ireland a hub for international start-up activity and create the jobs we so badly need.”

Design and logistics mastermind

PCH International is responsible for the design and production of many consumer electronic devices and appliances that define technology in 2011.

PCH has revenues of $400m a year and masterminds the design, manufacture and distribution of hardware, from the initial online order to the delivery at the customer’s door anywhere in the world. The company employs 1,200 people worldwide, including 80 people in Cork, where the company is headquartered.

Founded in 1996 to supply components to computer manufacturers, PCH made the strategic decision to transition away from component supply to focus on global supply chain services to key industries like consumer tech, medical devices, telecoms and other emerging technology industries.

In February last year, PCH raised $26m from Triangle Peak Partners and Cross Creek Capital. It followed a previous funding round of $21m in 2008 from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and Focus Ventures.

In June, it emerged that two new investors, Temasek subsidiary Northbrook Investments and J. Christopher Burch, joined existing investors in raising a further $30m. The same month PCH acquired TNS Distribution, an Irish-based pan-European consumer electronics distributor, for up to $21m.

Last year, Enterprise Ireland launched a dedicated €10m International Start-Up Fund to target investor-ready overseas entrepreneurs to start their businesses in Ireland.

The fund is open to company promoters anywhere in the world, but is targeted particularly at the Irish diaspora, international expatriates, the ‘New Diaspora’ (people from overseas who have previously worked or studied in Ireland), as well as serial and mobile entrepreneurs.

This is in addition to the new Start-up Entrepreneur Programme visa initiative announced recently by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Shatter, TD.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years