Cork signs ‘deal’ with pro-business Chinese city

A DELEGATION from Cork signed a memorandum of understanding with one of China’s most pro-business cities yesterday.

The deal with Hangzhou will encourage business, tourism, culture, sports and education contacts.

With a population of over six million people, Hangzhou is 180km southwest of Shanghai, a city twinned with Cork since 2005.

The delegation, which includes the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Michael O’Connell; city manager Tim Lucey, and Cork Chamber’s Ger O’Mahoney and Conor Healy, met companies in Hangzhou, and Shanghai, to promote Cork as a destination for Chinese foreign direct investment.

One of those meetings was with executives from Alibaba.com, the world’s largest online business-to-business trading platform for small businesses, which was founded in Hangzhou in 1999.

Mr Lucey said they were impressed by the fact that three Chinese-owned companies have established bases in Cork since the Shanghai twinning.

“Business relationships follow from the local government relationships,” he said.

Mr O’Connell said: “Cork is a tiny dot on the other side of the world as far as the people here are concerned.

“We need to get out there and sell what Cork has to offer, what we’re about, what we can provide in terms of talent and skills, and that’s what creates the opportunities.”

George Barter from Barter’s Travel is among the delegation exploring the tourism potential.

The delegation will attend the official launch of the Irish Chamber of Commerce in China later this week.

The trip also includes the Hangzhou-Cork Food Forum where Rebecca Harte and Ed Camlin from Cork’s Farm Gate Café, and Paul Lewis of the Silk Purse Restaurant at An Crúibín, prepared traditional Irish fare for their Chinese counterparts.

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