Skip Navigation

Exporting

PCH founder sees massive rewards in China

Tags: China,
PCH founder sees massive rewards in China

PCH founder sees massive rewards in China

Liam Casey, PCH founder

Domestic consumption is now driving the Chinese economy, which means a phenomenal appetite for foreign brands, according to Liam Casey, founder and chief executive officer of PCH International.

Recently appointed as a Start-up Ambassador for China by Enterprise Ireland, Casey indentified the enormous potential for growth in that market in the mid 1990s and he founded PCH in Cork, Ireland in 1996.

The Start-up Ambassador role involves Casey assisting Enterprise Ireland to encourage Chinese entrepreneurs to choose Ireland as a location for their start-ups, particularly in the high-tech space.

“Ireland offers huge advantages as a business location, in terms of people, time zone and free flows of information and capital. It is important that Chinese entrepreneurs who are looking at global markets – and there are plenty – can fully understand the benefits Ireland has to offer,” he says.

PCH creates, develops and delivers technology products for leading brands and is now a leader in the accessories market for smartphones, e-readers and tablets.

Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2007, Casey’s flair and talent for spotting new opportunities has disrupted traditional supply chain models, contributing to the success of many of the world’s largest technology brands.

 “We set up as a sourcing company in Ireland, with operations in Shenzhen in 1996. I had been working for a trading company in California and I asked a Taiwanese colleague if he had ever sold hardware to Ireland. He answered: ‘I’ve never heard of that company’. I knew there had to be an opportunity in Asia,” says Casey.

“The business grew from just one person in the first two years, offering sourcing services, to 1,200 people today in China, Ireland, the UK, the US and South Africa offering complete end-to-end product development and supply chain solutions.”

Casey has witnessed a marked evolution in terms of doing business in China since 1996. “In those days if you could find a factory, you were in business. Years ago, the China challenge was a knowledge challenge. Today it’s an execution challenge. You no longer just have to know where to get things done, you have to do it quicker and better than your competitors,” he notes.

“In the beginning, we were concerned about copyright and poor quality. But those challenges are now the exception rather than the rule. The new China lies in design, quality, cleantech and sustainable supply chains, innovation and in setting new world standards for global business.”

Irish prospects

The opportunities in China are limitless and Casey believes Irish companies should move quickly to sell consumer products in this market.

The Chinese middle class is growing rapidly – currently at more than 300 million people It is estimated to reach 75pc of the population by 2050 – and people have money to spend.

“China used to be a place to make cheap products. Then it became a cheap place to make products. Now it’s the only place to make hi-tech products, and it’s quickly becoming the place to sell those products. Irish businesses shouldn’t waste the opportunity to take advantage of this huge market,” says Casey.

“Of course you need to know why you’re doing business in China and what it is you’re offering. Some companies get carried away by the thought of China’s 1.3 billion-strong emerging market. It may sound obvious, but in such a huge market, clarity is very important. You need to know if you want to make products or sell products and you need separate entities to do both.”

PCH built up its market presence in China by focusing on offering the best customer service, developing partnerships and delivering peace of mind, according to Casey.

“Our business has grown organically and from word of mouth. China is a long-term commitment. You can’t expect to get things done overnight – but if you are patient, you’ll find that it’s worth the time invested. A tip for Irish companies is that you can’t be afraid to fail – in fact you have to fail at some things to be successful and break new boundaries.”

PCH has its operational headquarters in Shenzhen, which is the best location for its business and offers the best ecosystem for the kind of products it develops, Casey says.

His vision for PCH has dramatically shortened the time-to-market for the latest products. He developed a unique end-to-end integrated supply chain solution, including product design through to a fulfillment business that offers customers the longest global reach with the leanest supply chain inventories.

“I am very optimistic for China and for PCH’s business in China. There will be an increased focus on selling services and products into the domestic market and this is where some of the biggest opportunities lie. Asia is a huge market and there are fantastic opportunities for sourcing, supplier management and new customers.

“I firmly believe that Irish companies with the energy and the willingness to build ties and establish networks in Asia, particularly in China, can reap massive rewards.”

Tags: China,