The Irish Software Association has announced a software Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Irish and Chinese governments.
The signing took place yesterday in Beijing by Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Michéal Martin and Yu Guangzhou, China's Minister of Commerce.
The ISA welcomed the initiative and committed to fostering closer links with the Chinese Software Association. As part of its commitment, Cathal Friel, chairman of the ISA participated in the trade mission to China as the representative of the industry.
Twenty Irish software companies also attended including Iona, Riverdeep and Web Reservations.
"The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding is very significant and will enhance partnerships between Irish and Chinese software companies," said Minister Martin.
"I know that the Irish Software Association and the Chinese Software Association have also agreed to continue to work together for the mutual benefit of the software industry in both countries. As the world's leading software exporter, China is now looking to Ireland's expertise."
The ISA has put forward a proposal that over the next few years, Chinese software companies consider Ireland as a key location for their headquarters and as a direct gateway into Europe, as many US companies have done.
Presenting to delegates in Beijing, Friel stated that Ireland has a strong entrepreneurial spirit with a focus on moving up the value chain.
Friel said: "The ISA acknowledges China is a very large and daunting market to small Irish companies. However, we recommend that indigenous companies consider a Value Added Reseller (VAR), where they can enter the Chinese market via an existing multinational selling their product through its own existing customers.
"Many companies who are already pursuing this strategy are achieving success."
Ireland has one of the largest Mandarin speaking populations in Europe due the student programme that has been facilitated by the Irish Government.
The ISA is an affiliate association to IBEC, the Irish Business Employers Confederation and a founding member of ICT Ireland.
The Irish software sector employs over 30,000 people. Software output makes up over 11% of GDP.
Software sales account for over 14% of total exports and are worth in excess of €13bn.