Irish city wooing Chinese businesses - Business

The city of Galway on the west coast of Ireland is attempting to attract investment and talent from China by promoting itself in Mandarin as a hub for innovation, technology and business.

The Why Galway campaign was initially created to attract United Kingdom businesses wanting to maintain a presence in the European Union. But following a summit organized by the Irish Chinese Society in the city last month on the subject of the Belt and Road Initiative, the campaign is now reaching out to companies in China with a bilingual brochure promoting Galway.

Maeve Joyce, general manager of the Galway Chamber of Commerce said: "The Chinese ambassador to Ireland, Yue Xiaoyong, came to Galway to address a Belt and Road summit and it was decided that the brochure is very appropriate to trade events such as this, so it was translated into Chinese and we partnered with agencies such as the IDA Ireland who has taken these translated brochures to China."

IDA Ireland is the agency responsible for the attraction of foreign direct investment into the country and its development. Joyce said China is an obvious choice for the city to set its sights on.

"China is becoming extremely important and the chamber of commerce is looking broader as well," she said. "There would have been a time when we look to Britain as our closest trading partner, but there's now a lot of uncertainty there, so we're moving forward and looking into other potential markets to come to Galway."

In 2016, Galway was the third most popular Irish county for start-ups with more than 1,000 new businesses registered during the year.

"We have clusters here, particularly in MedTech, and (information and communications technology), so we're already set up to do business here with those clusters," Joyce said. "Galway is a university city with a highly educated workforce. We have a lot of creativity here and there is a really good vibrant startup infrastructure going on as well."

According to the brochure, more than 20 percent of the city's population comes from overseas, attracted to work or learn and live at an easier pace of life, with less commuting and at a lower cost.

Galway is also a UNESCO City of Film and was named Friendliest City in the World in 2015 by Travel and Leisure magazine.